Want to know what’s the key to a happy old age? It’s Tai Chi, a 2,000-year-old Chinese martial arts form which enhances balance and body awareness via slow graceful and precise body movements, say researchers.
A new study, led by the University of California, has revealed that the series of exercises once a week can lift depression raise energy levels and even improve the memory of aged people.
The over-65s, particularly those living in care, are six times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population. And drugs can help only an estimated one in three patients, say the researchers.
But adding a Tai Chi class, once a week for 10 weeks can make a significant difference, the ‘Daily Express’ newspaper reported.
The results of the study, to be published in the ‘American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry’, have shown a marked fall in levels of depression.
Lead researcher Dr Helen Lavretsky said: “This is the first study to demonstrate the benefits of Tai Chi in the management of late-life depression.
“It shows that adding a mind-body exercise like tai chi that is widely available in the community can improve the outcomes of treating depression in older adults. We may be able to treat them without exposing them to additional medications.”