In China, it has long been held that Tai Chi is an excellent exercise to improve balance and maintain joint health. A recent study has showed just how effective this can be and is the latest in a long line of reports confirming it’s benefits.
The journal “Arch Phys Med Rehabil” recently reviewed the evidence and published it’s conclusions. ‘evidence for Tai Chi exercise as an intervention to reduce rate of bone loss in post menopausal women’ is the name of this study.
Using a combination of randomized controlled trials and cohort studies in addition to examining other cross-sectional studies, they looked at the evidence around Tai Chi promoting bone density. They identified 6 studies that provided the appropriate data. They summarised that that those who practised Tai Chi for a number of years had higher BMD than their peers who did not. They also found that practitioners showed slower rates of post menopausal bone density decline.
Steve’s Health Answers Comments
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art and health care practice with a surprising depth. There is a great emphasis on letting the bones take the load rather than the muscles. When your alignment is correct, there is only a minimal involvement of the muscles increasing the stresses on the bones. This stimulation encourages the bones to get denser and absorb more calcium.
In addition, Tai Chi makes a lot of spiralling motions that twist and wrap the the tendons around the bones literally squeezing them and the bone marrow. Originally this was done to generate a power that is simply not obvious and bears little relationship to the physique of the person. Over time, these practices have been more used for their health benefits. It is not unusual to see very elderly Chinese people who have a surprising degree of flexibility and grace which they attribute to their Tai Chi practice.