Tai chi can help prevent falls in older people, an analysis of 10 clinical trials in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has confirmed. Pooled data found a 40 percent reduction in falls within three to six months of starting tai chi, compared to usual care or other interventions.
The frequency of the one-hour sessions ranged from one to three times per week. While tai chi is less beneficial for maintaining bone mineral density than higher-impact weight-bearing exercise such as running or tennis, it can help prevent falls and thus fractures by improving balance, neuromuscular coordination, and postural stability.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Tai Chi and Bones.