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.  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 recently 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. Holbrook specializes in the health effects of Tai Chi that benefits the practitioners. Holbrook teaches in many locations in the area including 7 Lakes West.

Holbrook 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.

Holbrook told the Kiwanians that 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 regularly will improve your flexibility and overall health. Another point made by Holbrook is that Tai Chi can help curtail the onset of Alzheimers 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.”

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

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