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Monday, December 4, 2023

Tai Chi: Moving for a Better Balance

Tai Chi is a centuries-old Chinese practice designed to exercise the mind and body through a series of gentle, flowing postures.  Tai Chi for Better Balance is an evidence-based fall prevention program developed for older adults.  This program is delivered in two 1-hour sessions each week for 12 weeks.  Each session consists of warm-up exercises, core practices which include a mix of the practice of forms, and mini therapeutic movement followed by a brief cool-down routine.  The Tai Chi for Better Balance program was derived from a contemporary routine know as the Simplified 24-Form Tai Ju Quan.  This program transforms martial arts movements into a therapeutic regimen aimed at improving postural stability, awareness, and mindful control of body positioning in space, functional walking, movement symmetry and coordination, range of motion around the ankle and hip joints, and lower-extremity muscle strength.

Every year, one out to three adults aged 65 or older will experience a fall, but less than half will tell their healthcare provider, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2016, the United Health Foundation, America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, ranked Oklahoma as 38th in the nation for falls in adults aged 65 and over.  Unintentional falls result in death for 92.3 per 100,000 Oklahoma adults in 2015, compared to 86.5 per 100,000 in 2014. (OK State Department of Health). 

The Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative (OHAI) in coordination with the National Council on Aging and the Long-Term Care Authority Area Agency on Aging in Enid to provide the Tai Chi for Better Balance classes in Northwest Oklahoma.  According to the CDC, Tai Chi for Better Balance, if practiced regularly is proven to reduce the risk of falls by 55%.

OHAI is a sponsored program of the Section of Geriatric Medicine created to enhance the health and quality of life for older Oklahomans and their caregivers.  The program was established in 2012 and has five offices throughout the state reaching all 77 counties of Oklahoma.  

OHAI’s Northwest Center of Healthy Aging in Enid was established in 2015 and covers the 16 counties in Northwestern Oklahoma. The Northwest Center of Healthy Aging is staffed by education specialists Christopher Anderson and Tina Ruding and education director Devon Murray. 

OHAI’s work is supported by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, along with other federal, state, and local grants. The Northwest Center of Healthy Aging also receives funding for these services from the Title III Older Americans Act through Rural Health Projects and the Long-Term Care Authority Area Agency of Aging and Aging Services Division. 

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, Tai Chi classes are currently being offered on the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative’s Facebook page as well as on the ZOOM virtual platform.  To find a schedule of all of the OHAI classes, you can go to OHAI’s website at www.ohai.org or you can email devon-murray@ouhsc.edu or call our Northwest Center of Healthy Aging at (580) 297-5137.  All of OHAI’s classes are available to everyone, at no charge. 

Devon Murrayhttp://www.ohai.org
Devon Murray is the Education Director with the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative (OHAI). OHAI is a sponsored program of the Section of Geriatric Medicine within the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. OHAI office in Enid provide community education to older adults, caregivers and healthcare providers across 16 counties in Northwestern Oklahoma.



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