Tai Chi exercise may reduce falls in adult stroke survivors

SALSA/iCAMP recent collaborative research with the Arizona College of Nursing has been featured by the American Heart Association Newsroom. This interdisciplinary study suggests that Tai Chi may reduce falls among adult stroke survivors.
Compared to survivors receiving usual care or participating in a national fitness program for Medicare-eligible adults called SilverSneakers®, those practicing Tai Chi had the fewest falls.
Tai Chi is a martial art dating back to ancient China. It includes physical movements, mental concentration and relaxed breathing.
“Learning how to find and maintain your balance after a stroke is a challenge,” said Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Ph.D., R.N., the study’s principal investigator and assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, Ariz. “Tai Chi is effective in improving both static and dynamic balance, which is important to prevent falls. Tai Chi is readily available in most U.S. cities and is relatively inexpensive.”
Stroke survivors experience seven times as many falls each year than healthy adults, Taylor-Piliae  said. These falls can cause fractures, decrease mobility and increase fear of falling that can result in social isolation or dependence. Tai Chi has significantly reduced falls in healthy older adults.
 We just initiated a pilot study to explore the benefit of this intervention on spontaneous daily physical activity and risk of falling using body worn sensors, said Bijan Najafi, Ph.D., at the University of Arizona, Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) and Interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance(iCAMP) ,  one of the co-investigators.

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