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(Reuters Health) – Seniors who practice tai chi – a Chinese meditation practice that combines deep breathing and slow, fluid movements – may be less likely to fall than their peers who don’t do this type of exercise, a recent study suggests.

Researchers examined data from 18 previously published trials of tai chi for fall prevention with a combined 3,824 participants aged 65 and older.

Tai chi was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of falling at least once and a 31 percent drop in the number of falls, the analysis found.

“This is a fairly significant finding because tai chi is an activity that can be easily taught and that people can do independently at home or at their workplace or at the retirement center on their own or in a group,” said Jean-Michel Brismee, a physical therapy researcher at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and University Medical Center in Lubbock.

“So in regard to cost and preserving independence and health it

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