Tai Chi as Prevention Strategy for Falling

(L) Kiwanian, Mike Karnish, (R) Master Tai Chi, Lee Holbrook

One of the biggest health threats facing Americans age 65 and older is also one many of them don’t like to talk about: “FALLING”.  Indeed, falls are the leading cause of injuries and death from injuries in older Americans, according to the CDC.  There is one prevention strategy that older Americans should consider using and that is Tai Chi!

Kiwanis Club of Seven Lakes had as their guest speaker, Master Tai Chi Instructor, Lee Holbrook, who is a retired Army Colonel and has been teaching Tai Chi full time since 1999.  Lee specializes in the health effects of Tai Chi that benefits the practitioners.  He teaches in many locations in the area including 7 Lakes West.  Lee says falls can be reduced by using Tai Chi to increase balance function in the brain and improve core muscle strength for stability.  Tai Chi is a series of soft movements that allow you to remain flexible as you age so you can continue to do the things you love.  Optimal blood flow is important to get oxygen to your brain.  Our brain cells require three times more oxygen than the other cells in our bodies.  Simple movements repeated consistently and regulary will improve your flexibility and overall health.  Another point made by Lee is that Tai Chi can help curtail the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dr. Elizabeth Phelan, a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, agrees, saying, “The single most effective prevention strategy is the practice of strength-balance exercises like Tai Chi and the development of muscle strength.