Tai Chi Prevents Seniors From Falling

You might not think that slow movements or controlled breathing could improve your balance, but these seniors say tai chi does just that. 68 year old Ruthann Wofford has practiced Tai Chi for 6 years. She says Tai Chi kept her from hurting herself when she tripped on some stairs a few weeks ago.

"I employed a Tai Chi move in the fall and that kept me from injuring myself," says Ruthann.

Susan Holt, a former water and cross country skier, has practiced Tai Chi for 2 and a half years and has seen similar results.

"My knees were angry, but now they are totally healed thanks to tai chi. It's improved my balance,' says Susan.

Both women are living proof of a recent study by the National Institute on Aging. The study found practicing Tai Chi can reduce a senior's risk of falling by 50 percent. Instructor Brandon Jones says Tai Chi gradually builds muscles in aging seniors.

"It sneaks up on a body. It slowly lets the body understand how to start exercising," he explains. Jones says the slow, repetitious movements also improve a persons' concentration and motor skills.

"You have to learn these techniques, memorizing them. Then you have to tell your body to do it so the mind and body works together," Brandon explains.

Both Susan and Ruthann are sold on it. They say Tai Chi not only gave them balance, but gave them a better, stronger life.