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Tai Chi and Bones

Q. You have listed tai chi among the many least useful actions for bone mineral density. However I’ve learn it may well assist maintain bones robust. What is the deal?

A. It’s laborious to say, but when there’s a profit, it’s most likely restricted. Most research on the topic have been small, and the outcomes inconsistent, most likely as a result of tai chi can differ a lot.

One of many higher research, from Hong Kong in 2004, concerned 132 girls of their fifties, half of whom did supervised tai chi (45 minutes, 5 occasions per week) for a yr; the opposite half did no train. Bone loss in key areas, such because the lumbar backbone and proximal femur (higher thigh bone), was not considerably diminished within the tai chi group. In distinction, a research from Texas Tech College in 2007 discovered that 14 folks (common age 79) who did tai chi for 40 minutes three occasions per week for six months had modest enhancements in markers for bone formation.

Analysis opinions additionally differ. A 2008 overview in Osteoporosis Worldwide concluded that the proof about tai chi and bone well being is “not convincing.” In distinction, a 2011 overview in Different Medication Research stated that in research of postmenopausal girls, tai chi appears to cut back bone loss.

Tai chi is weight-bearing—involving slowly shifting your physique weight from leg to leg—and this may increasingly stimulate bone formation considerably. As we mentioned previously, the most effective actions for sustaining bone mineral density are these which are excessive in influence, equivalent to operating, tennis or leaping rope, in addition to resistance exercises, equivalent to weight-training.

Backside line: Tai chi has plenty of potential advantages which are well-proven. Even when its direct results on bone energy and high quality are restricted, it may well nonetheless assist forestall fractures as a result of it improves steadiness, neuromuscular coordination and postural stability, thus decreasing the danger of falls.

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