Researchers have found that the Chinese martial art of tai chi could slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease by years. Tai chi, with its slow, meditative and deliberate movements, is known to benefit physical and mental well-being. Doctors from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine conducted a five-year study on people with Parkinson's. The researchers discovered that the condition progressed at a slower rate in those who practiced tai chi. They observed fewer falls, and less dizziness and back pain in the tai chi practitioners. The researchers also noted that the cognitive function of the test participants who regularly practiced tai chi deteriorated more slowly.
Parkinson's disease is a brain disorder that affects the nerves and muscles. It progressively causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. People with Parkinson's may eventually have difficulties walking and talking. One of the most famous people with Parkinson's was the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The researchers suggest that doing tai chi could keep symptoms of Parkinson's at bay for years. They said: "The long-term beneficial effect of tai chi on Parkinson's could prolong the time without disability, leading to a higher quality of life, a lower burden for caregivers and a reduction in drug use."
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