Tai Chi Found to Improve Physical Function

Previous research has shown that tai chi may help lower blood pressure and relieve arthritis symptoms, and a new study finds that it may help older adults with both daily living activities and more intense activities.

Researchers from the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene tracked 72 volunteers who were between 65 and 96 years old. For six months, one group took a tai chi class twice a week, while the other kept to their usual routines.

Seventy percent of the tai chi participants improved their ability to bend and lift, compared to 18 percent of the other group. And tai chi participants had an overall improvement in physical function, which included more intense activities, such as running.

The researchers caution that, because the participants were mostly white women who had volunteered for the study, and thus may have been more motivated than average, they may not be indicative of results for all of the older U.S. adult population.

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