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Tai chi lessons can help people with Parkinson’s disease maintain their footing and lessen the risk of falls, a new study finds. The study, published in February 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine compared a six-month tailored Tai Chi program to resistance training and stretching to see which was most effective at improving functional movement, walking and balance for Parkinson's patients. At the end of the study the Tai Chi group did better than the stretching group on a few measures: leaning without losing balance, having better directional control of their body, and walking skills. They outperformed the resistance training group on balance and stride length. Those in the Tai Chi group also reduced their frequency of falls more than the stretching group and on a par with the resistance group. Three months after the study ended, those in the Tai Chi group were able to maintain the benefits they had gained.
Training in the Chinese martial art seems to improve ankle stability, posture control and walking ability in these patients. Tai chi includes exercises and posture changes by which the body flows slowly from one position into another, with heightened awareness of balance, coordination and weight shifting.

Mondays 11:00am -12:00pm (Starting September 10th, 2012)

The Virginian
9229 Arlington Blvd
Fairfax VA 22031
Instructor: Rob LaPointe
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Benefits of Tai Chi