Tai chi exercises may improve balance in visually impaired people
Monday, 19 December 2011
One of the most important things older people can do to maintain their independence is stay mobile and active. This can be challenging for those with visual impairments, which can lead to problems with coordination and accidental falls. However, new research shows that tai chi exercises may help improve these individuals' sense of balance, as reported by News-Medical.
A team of scientists conducted a study on 40 people, aged 70 years and older, who were living in residential care homes. These subjects were divided into two groups. The control group took lessons on percussive music. The experimental group participated in 90-minute tai chi sessions that focused on multi-directional weight-shifting, head and trunk rotation and body alignment awareness.
After 16 weeks, the tai chi group experienced improvements in their ability to balance as well as in their awareness of the positioning of their knees.
"Our study shows that tai chi can be a suitable form of exercise for those with visual impairment and indeed assists with improving their balance control," said the researchers, as quoted by the news source.
In addition to supporting physical coordination, the energy healing therapy of tai chi can help improve muscle strength and ability to sleep, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.