Benefits of Tai Chi to Alzheimer’s patients.

Tai chi, a mind-body practice that originated in China around the 12th century A.D. as a martial art, focuses on moving the body slowly and gently while breathing deeply and meditating. Studies have suggested that tai chi can help boost older adults’ immunity to viruses and improve their balance, thereby helping to prevent falls.

As a low-impact and aerobic exercise, tai chi can help improve physical condition, muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility; ease pain and stiffness; and improve sleep.

The various forms of tai chi emphasize movement through three planes such as breathing, relaxation, and meditation and thus help maintain functional mobility at joints and integrate multiple joint movements, which helps older adults maintain their functional capacity. In many of the movements, the eyes are closed, challenging the balance centers of the body. This certainly is key to functional capacity, given the risk of falls with older adults. It’s great training for balance and coordinated movements, parameters lost as we age.

Movements in tai chi use the person’s own body as resistance and maintains a good range of motion at the joints which helps with many age-related conditions such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

And although exercise doesn’t stop the disease from progressing, it gives patients a feeling of accomplishment. Exercise improves cerebral blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the brain to help maintain neural and cognitive function.

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