How Tai Chi Works for Fall Prevention
The Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program is a variation based on the Sun style Tai Chi but no matter what style of tai chi is practiced, by sticking to the principles you will experience better balance and less falls.
Tai Chi Principles
- Movement control
- Tai chi movements are slow, smooth and continuous, helping to strengthen internal muscles, like the deep stabilizers that support and strengthen the spine.
- Slow and smooth movements calm the mind, helping to reduce falls resulting from sudden movements that lead to significant blood pressure drop, especially in elder people taking medication that can cause change of blood pressure.
- Weight transference
- Tai chi practitioners are mindful of shifting and transferring body weight with each step, to improve mobility, coordination and balance.
- An upright and supple posture is also emphasized to further strengthen muscles.
- Integration of mind and body
- Tai chi is an internal art, which stresses the integration and balance of mind and body.
- Tai chi practitioners focus, calm their minds, and loosen and relax their joints and ligaments.
Fear of falls increases the risk of falling. Studies indicate being confident results in less falls. Practicing a mind-body exercise, such as tai chi, builds confidence in movement thereby alleviating the fear of falling.