A seated form of a traditional martial art can help stroke survivors regain strength and balance and help relieve depression symptoms as well as or better than standard post-stroke exercise programs, according to a new study from China.
The study’s authors said it was the first randomized controlled trial to analyze the ability of a modified tai chi program to help stroke survivors recover. The research appeared Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
Tai chi combines deep breathing with a series of slow, careful movements of the hands, arms, neck, legs and core. A 2014 scientific statement about activity and exercise for stroke survivors highlights tai chi and yoga as flexibility and muscle strength training programs that can improve balance, quality of life and mental health while reducing the fear of falling.