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Tai chi to ease depression in the elderly?

Published on October 21, 2016 at 14:43 / Updated on May 3, 2021 at 20:19

According to a recent study, tai chi does more than improve our body’s balance and flexibility – it is also beneficial to elderly individuals suffering from depression. This is a very interesting finding because depression is often more difficult to treat among the elderly. This difficulty is due to the fact that older individuals may be suffering from several chronic diseases, and they sometimes do not respond as well to drug therapy.

Tai chi is a type of gentle Chinese calisthenics made up of slow movements, breathing exercises and meditation.

The participants in this study all suffered from major depression, were 70 years old on average, and were all taking an antidepressant. They were assigned to either a tai chi course or a health education class, once a week. After ten weeks of tai chi, 94 percent of participants noted an improvement in their depression symptoms, compared with 77 percent in the health education group. In addition, 65 percent of the people in the tai chi group experienced a remission in their depression, compared with 51 percent in the other group.

Tai chi is a type of exercise that can easily be practiced by most seniors or persons suffering from a health problem. Many studies have shown tai chi can improve physical wellness and quality of life, relieve stress and anxiety, and lead to improved sleep quality. Other recent studies suggest that practicing tai chi may also provide benefits for persons with arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Numerous organizations offer tai chi courses all across Quebec. Why not give it a try?

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