Science is now seeing the value in exercises like tai chi, for the elderly in particular. Study after study finds it may improve health conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to Parkinson's disease to Alzheimer's.
"Exercise is probably the most effective way to improve cognitive ability. In order to do that the exercise should include movement, complexity and memory, which tai chi does," says Dr. Marc Rowe, a tai chi instructor at Lee Memorial Health System.
Lee Memorial Health System offers tai chi classes for seniors. It helps keep them on their feet and moving in the right direction.
"About 50% of people over 80 have lost enough fitness that they can't do the normal chores to make themselves independent around the house. So we want to develop a package, a comprehensive program with tai chi as its centerpiece to train seniors to be more functional and independent," says Dr. Rowe.
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