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  1. D Skelton
  1. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Research Fellow, Imperial College of Science and Technology and Medicine, Research into Ageing

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    There has been a lot of recent interest in methods of reducing the risk factors associated with falls, actual falls, and fall induced injuries in both scientific and health promotion literature.

    A number of national guidelines1,2 have suggested the development of multifactorial interventions that include exercise involving muscle strengthening and balance work, especially Tai Chi.3 This cross sectional study shows that prolonged Tai Chi practice (over ten years) can have a significant enhancing effect on balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular function in older age. It also adds supporting evidence to an increasingly popular form of exercise that is suitable for older people. However, its applicability to an already frail older person, with poor balance, starting Tai Chi has not been established, and care must be taken that the exercise is sufficiently adapted to be safe for vulnerable older people.4

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