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Older Adults Benefit From Ancient Exercise

Older Adults Benefit From Ancient Exercise

The ancient practice of Tai Chi has been rediscovered by older adults across New Zealand. Thousands are involved in classes and the trend is increasing steadily.

Tai Chi classes are funded by ACC with the aim of reducing older adult falls by building up strength and balance.

“Tai Chi is a really gentle form of exercise, so even people who suffer arthritis, or may have already had a fall, are able to participate,” said Ann Rose, ACC’s Injury Prevention Spokesperson.

ACC studies show that one in three people aged over 65 will fall each year and half of those over 80 will fall. Research has proven that a 16 week course of Tai Chi can reduce falls in the older adult bracket by 47.5%. ACC modified Tai Chi classes run for 20 weeks.

“ACC’s Tai Chi classes are modified to provide a set of exercises that focus on improving lower limb strength and balance,” said Ann.

Falls caused the greatest number of ACC claims in New Zealand from July 2006-June 2007. Over 150 people aged 65 or over died as a result of a fall and over 46,000 aged 65 and over were injured.

Ann Rose said the worry of falling can cause people to become inactive which is a danger to their overall health.

“Tai Chi provides confidence as well as physical mobility, allowing people to feel safer being active in their homes.”

To participate in ACC funded Tai Chi classes participants need to be:

- aged 65 years or older (55 years or older if Maori or Pacific)
- living independently in the community
- have had a fall in the last 12 months, or if not had a fall, deemed to be at high risk of a fall by a registered health professional
To register or find out more about ACC Tai Chi classes in your area visit or contact the Injury Prevention Consultant at your nearest ACC branch.


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