New Research Regarding
Tai Chi / Taiji Classes for Seniors
Once again I refer to some additional research conducted by Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. of the Oregon Research Institute, and colleagues. The research piece can be found below my brief introduction.
I have personally seen my Senior Students greatly improve their strength, balance, energy levels, flexibility, coordination, and overall health (physical and mental) with a steady diet of Tai Chi in their weekly schedules. It also provides a social atmosphere where students can make new friends, share common interests and often develop new ones. I sincerely hope that the type of research presently available encourages the Senior population to get out there and see for themselves how Taiji can enrich their lives. No matter what you perceive your present physical condition or state of health, you can engage in the practice of Taiji. I also caution potential students to train only with a qualified Taiji Instructor. If you have any questions on how to go about the task of locating one, contact me directly and I will try my best to assist you in your search (where ever you are residing).
As I said in the last blog (Tai Chi as Treatment for Parkinson’s) I am extremely appreciative of Fuzhong Li Ph.D.and his colleagues for all their efforts and also willingness to share their findings regarding how Taiji (Tai Chi) can benefit those addressing issues associated with aging or any other health complications.
Physical Training Jan 2002
The low-impact Chinese exercise, Tai Chi, can help older people regain some of the physical functioning that they may have lost to inactivity, according to a new study.
Seniors taking Tai Chi classes reported better physical functioning both at the three-month midpoint and the six-month end of the pilot study, says Fuzhong Li, Ph.D., of the Oregon Research Institute, and colleagues.
The study included 72 people between the ages of 65 and 96 who were split into a group that went to an hour-long class twice a week for six months and a control group that was promised a four-week class at the end of the study.
"We found significant improvements within three months on a low-intensity program conducted twice a week. Our results also showed improved benefits from six months of participation, suggesting that additional health gains can be derived from a longer period of participation," the researchers say.
The study is published in the May issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
They contrast this with previous research on exercise programs that suggests much longer periods are needed to show significant improvements in functioning.
On completion of the study, the Tai Chi students were also twice as likely as the control group to report not being limited in their ability to perform moderate-to-vigorous activities.
In comparison to previous research, which shows that half of sedentary people are unable to maintain a newly adopted exercise program, these findings were also unique in that only 18 percent of participants dropped out of the Tai Chi class. The researchers suggest Tai Chi may offer a particularly attractive form of fitness activity for this population. Members of the classes described the lessons as a positive experience with wide ranging benefits that both energized and relaxed them. They felt it had helped them build better flexibility, balance and strength.
The researchers did note that since the study recruited volunteers for the study, the participants may have been more motivated than other sedentary elderly people to exercise.
The study cost approximately $9,000.
Through grants from the National Institute on Aging, the researchers are continuing their examination of the effects of Tai Chi on seniors' health outcomes, such as falls, physical ability and long-term health behaviors.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine is the official peer-reviewed publication of The Society of Behavioral Medicine. For information about the journal, contact Robert Kaplan, PhD, (858) 534-6058. For copies of the article, contact the Center for the Advancement of Health at 202.387.2829 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for the Advancement of Health Contact: Ira R. Allen Director of Public Affairs 202.387.2829 email@example.com
Contact: Fuzhong Li, Ph.D. (541) 484-2123 (ext. 2137) firstname.lastname@example.org or John Fisher (541) 484-2123 (ext. 2228) email@example.com