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Clients' Testimonials
I really liked the Taichi session! I thought it was even better than yoga.
If time permits, I would like to sign up for a proper course. It was good exercise :)
Ms Yvonne Yoong, Teacher
- Beatty Sec
Very interesting & though Taichi is a slow impact exercise, it very strenuous.
Ms Jeerah, Teacher
- Beatty Sec
Very enlightening and attractive. Coaches gave clear instruction and well prepared.
Mr Sin Lai Keong, Teacher
- Beatty Sec
Thank you! Great Taichi session, I enjoy so much!
Monica Loh
- ICA
I had fun during the wushu program, and it was good exercise :)
Joy Fu, Student
- CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School
I had a lot of fun. You know I have never experienced something so picturetaking
There were so many moves of self-defense. Coaches are very nice. This rocks!
Harviran Singh, Student
- Northland Primary
Very interesting and a rare opportunity for me to take part. Thumbs up :)
Crystal, Student
- CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School
The main reason I keep coming for Taichi lesson is that I want to be healthy & fit.
Coach make us feel β€œTaichi"
Qing Wen, Student
- Hong Wen School
It is very good for beginners & the Coaches are very friendly & patient.
I want to learn more advanced Taichi.
Brian, Student
- Hong Wen School
I actually hated wushu but Coach Yip made me like wushu.
Brandon Oh, Student
- Princess Elizabeth Primary
I like learning new movements because it helps my body.
The coach is very good in Wushu, I would like to continue learning.
Jonathan, Student
- Princess Elizabeth Primary
I wish that Coach Yip will come here again to teach us and he is very friendly.
Muliati, Student
- Princess Elizabeth Primary

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Tai Chi Helps In Preventing Falls Among Elderly
Yip See Kit, Senior Coach of NewAgeTaichi, Copyright 2008
(WORD COUNT: 1,205)
Tai Chi Helps In Preventing Falls Among Elderly

Falls among elderly has become a growing concern as it often comes with other complication such as bones fractures and in some serious cases, may lead to death. It is common to notice that in MRT train stations; there have been warning signs near almost every elevator which states that out of 10 people who fell from the elevator, 8 of which are elderly. This also show the current statistics and issue which we aim to address.

As falls are a major cause of fracture, along with fragile bones, there have been many exercise research which concentrated on fall prevention. Given that someone who is having osteoporosis, fall prevention should be a major concern and priority in the planning of exercise program.

Fortunately, falls is not inevitable among elderly and there is much which we can do for ourselves. Prevention is always better than cure and numerous research studies have given us a pretty good insight on the different types and quantity of exercise that will help to reduce falls, especially among the elderly. We need to bear in mind, that although falls can have many causes, engaging in exercise may be only one of many other steps which we can adopt for reducing fall risk.

Research had shown for certain that having certain physical attributes such as weak legs, poor muscles, poor balance and stability and also having difficult locomotion, which is also known as gait tend to make one much more likely to fall as compared to someone who is strong, stable, and more agile.

Since strength, muscle mass, gait, balance and stability are all closely interlinked; therefore many of the exercises intervention programs discussed will include strengthening exercise along with balance and stability training. Engaging in resistance training programs are largely successful at increasing muscle mass and significantly increasing muscle strength in people who are relatively weak to begin with and will also help to bring out improvements in their core balance and gait.

Engaging in resistance training alone or coupled with additional balance and stability training has been shown to help reduce falls. However, research studies of exercise that only focused on balance itself, without engaging in resistance training exercise, in general did not help much in preventing falls. All these studies underscore the importance of having strong muscles for fall prevention. (Kerri Winters-Stone, PHD, 2005)

While there are many recommendations for different resistance exercises and strength training programs, Tai Chi has been considered as one exercise to be very effective in helping individual to build their core strength, especially in the lower extremities and promote functional stability so as to reduce the risk of falls and is especially beneficial for the elderly to engage in.

In one of the research, it has shown that Tai Chi can help to prevent a decline in functional balance and gait among older people (Mau-Roung, Lin et al., 2006). There is also some evidence that balance training using Tai Chi, can reduce falls in elderly by around one third. (Wolf, SL et al., 1993) In another research, results have shown that Tai Chi had most benefit in preventing several falls. (Cambell, AJ et al., 1997)

From the above research, we can observe that Tai Chi in particular do help in strengthening of the muscles and core balance which helps to reduce fall risks. In another one of the research done, there were statistically significant differences in changes in balance favoring the Tai Chi group on five of six balance tests. This has led to the conclusion in this research that participation in weekly practices of Tai Chi classes for 16 weeks can help to prevent falls in relatively healthy elderly. (Voukelatos Alexander, MA (Psychol) et al., 2007)

While much research has been proven on Tai Chi as an effective exercise in preventing fall, we shall now take a closer analysis as to exactly why practicing Tai Chi is able to achieve these desired results. Taichi provides a good form of weight bearing exercise, since it emphasizes a lot on the weight transfer of the body natural weight. In Tai Chi, you perform a series of slow, rhythmic and graceful controlled body movements while your body remains erect and anatomically aligned.

By doing so, we activate the agonist/ antagonist/ synergist muscles in the correct firing sequence to support body mass in the direction of gravity. Muscle operating eccentrically create stress on the bone; the phenomenon of resistance training. Hence, Tai Chi provides a very good form of exercise workout as resistance training on the body.

The nature of Tai Chi movements follows that of the human biomechanics principles and anatomical alignment. With proper postural alignment and application of human biomechanical principles, it allows Tai Chi practitioners to habitualise the correct postural alignment form and is able to positively transfer this into their daily activities. When we discuss on the importance of balance and stability training, we are actually referring to specifically functional stability. Tai Chi also helps to improve individual in their kinesthetic awareness and faster reaction time.

The movement patterns in Tai Chi emphasize a lot on smooth transition during weight transfer and also on maintaining stability using single leg, examples of such Tai Chi movements are β€œι‡‘ιΈ‘η‹¬η«‹β€, β€œη‹¬η«‹ζ‰“θ™Žβ€ ,β€œη‹¬η«‹ζ‰˜ζŽŒβ€ ,β€œθ½¬θΊ«ζ‹θ„šβ€, β€œε·¦ε³η£΄θ„šβ€. Losing of balance is the main trigger point for falls, whereas poor reaction time and muscles weakness, especially in the core muscles underlies the inability to stop the fall.

Thus, Tai Chi movements focus on developing the individual in manipulating and controlling of their center of gravity so that they are able to maintain stability during the movement executions. These Tai Chi movement skills are useful and is also being functional as they helps to train individual to handle situations when one is falling but is still able to quickly return their center of gravity to their origin, thus able to stop the fall and regain back stability.

Tai Chi Helps In Preventing Falls Among Elderly

Although the main discussion so far has been on Tai Chi as an effective exercise program to reduce fall in elderly, it does not means that children and adults are not at risk of falling. In fact, everyone has the possibility and chances of falling, just that the implications and complications of falling are more severe for elderly. It is never too late or too early for anyone to start engaging in Tai Chi or resistance and balance training. This is one of the essential survival skills which we need to acquire and master so as to minimize the potential of any accidental fall risk.

There are many other forms of resistance and balance training exercise programs which are just as effective in preventing and reducing falls, however one has to bear in mind that in executing of these exercises, the nature of the movements have to be functional so that the body can have a positive transfer from the exercise regime to their daily activities. In this way, one can maximize the benefits of exercising and Tai Chi is one of the most valuable exercises which can bring lifelong fitness to everyone regardless of age, gender and races.

References

Cambell, A. et al. (1997) Randomised controlled trial of general practice programme of home based exercise to prevent falls in elderly women. British Medical Journal 315 1065-1069

Kerri Winters-Stone, P., (2005) Action Plan For Osteoporosis - Your guide to stronger, healthier bones Human Kinetics USA

Mau-Roung, L. et al. (2006) Community-Based Tai Chi and Its Effect on Injurious Falls, Balance, Gait, and Fear of Falling in Older People. PHYS THER 86 (9): 1181-1201

Voukelatos Alexander, M.P. et al. (2007) A Randomized, Controlled Trial of tai chi for the Prevention of Falls: The Central Sydney tai chi Trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 55 (8): 1185-1191

Wolf, S. et al. (1993) The Atlanta FICSIT study: two exercise interventions to reduce frailty in elders. Journal of the American Geriatrics 41 329-332