Tai Chi reduces falls in adult stroke survivors

Tai Chi reduced falls among adult stroke survivors compared with those who received usual care or participated in a national fitness program, according to a recently published study.

Eighty-nine stroke survivors were randomly assigned to practice Tai Chi, participate in Silver Sneakers, a fitness program for Medicare-eligible adults, or receive the usual care. Tai Chi and Silver Sneakers groups participated in a 1-hour exercise class three times a week for 12 weeks, while the usual care group received a weekly phone call and written material about participating in community-based physical activity.

According to study results, there were a total of 34 reported falls in participants’ homes during the 12 week trial mainly from slipping or tripping. Researchers found that there were five falls in the Tai Chi group, 15 falls in the usual care group and 14 falls in the Silver Sneakers group.

“Learning how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a challenge,” Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, Ariz., stated in a press release. “The main physical benefits of Tai Chi are better balance, improved strength, flexibility and aerobic endurance. Tai Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is important to prevent falls.”

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