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How Can Tai Chi Improve My Balance and Flexibility?

a man showing how can tai chi improve my balance

Tai chi is a great exercise for improving flexibility and balance. I have taught tai chi for many years, and one of the key exercises practiced within the exercise focuses entirely on balance. Flexibility is an area that just increases naturally, with practice.

So How Can Tai Chi Improve My Balance, huh?

If I were to say what would improve more, I would lean towards balance. In doing tai chi, the splits are not required; however, having a stable posture and feet stable on the ground is needed. On the opposite end, to perform the most physically intensive movement in the Yang style Tai Chi Chuan that I teach, flexibility is required. This movement is known as Snake Creeps Down Through The Valley.

Improved balance means a reduced likelihood of falling. Falls are frequent and disabling issues among older adults. A randomized control trial found that Tai Chi Chuan can significantly improve balance and reduce the fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults 1. Tai chi helps to enhance balance, which may prevent falls and serious injuries.

Research Findings on Tai Chi

A single-blind randomized control trial (RCT) that followed the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards for Reporting of Trials) statement was registered at the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials. The study divided participants into two groups (control and intervention) according to random block allocation and a computer-generated list of random numbers. None of the participants were aware of the group assignments and randomization procedures. The study showed that Tai Chi Chuan significantly improves balance and reduces the fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults. In other words, Tai Chi Chuan is a valuable exercise for older adults, especially those with lower balance skills and at risk of falling2.

Tai chi is a simple and economical exercise that does not require special equipment and can be done anywhere.

Woman shows how can tai chi improve my balance
Tai Chi has been shown to improve balance. Photo credit: OpenClipart-Vectors

Benefits for Specific Conditions

Tai Chi Chuan had positive effects on balance, gait, and quality of life in older adults with Parkinson’s disease after eight weeks3. Additionally, studies have found that Tai Chi can improve cognitive abilities, enhance the quality of life, alleviate symptoms related to cancer, and relieve chronic pain, among other benefits4.

Tai Chi on Balance and Lower Limb Strength

A recent study investigated whether a simplified and personalized Tai Chi program could be beneficial for practitioners. The study involved community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older without debilitating disease.Personalized Tai-Chi training designed based on an objective measurement and conducted according to graded intensity and complexity benefitted practitioners after a short period5.

How Does It Work To Help Balance and Flexibility?

Tai Chi works to improve balance and flexibility through its unique combination of slow, deliberate movements and mindful breathing. The practice involves a series of fluid movements that require constant shifting of weight from one leg to the other, which helps strengthen the lower body muscles and enhances proprioception—our sense of body position and movement. This repeated weight shifting also improves coordination and stability, which are crucial for maintaining balance.

The controlled, gentle stretching movements in Tai Chi enhance flexibility by gradually increasing the range of motion in the joints. These movements are often done in coordination with deep, relaxed breathing, which helps to reduce tension in the muscles and allows for greater stretch. Additionally, the meditative aspect of Tai Chi promotes a heightened awareness of body movements and posture, which can lead to better alignment and balance. Over time, participants develop stronger, more flexible muscles and improved joint stability, leading to better overall physical coordination and a reduced risk of falls.

Tai Chi helps improve balance by strengthening the muscles involved in maintaining stability, enhancing coordination and body awareness, promoting mindfulness of movements, and improving overall posture. These benefits make Tai Chi an effective exercise for individuals seeking to enhance their balance and reduce the risk

An Exercise To Incorporate

The effectiveness of Tai Chi increases with the duration and frequency of exercise. Its ability to enhance balance and flexibility, combined with its simplicity and low cost, makes Tai Chi an excellent choice for older adults and those looking to improve their overall physical health.


  1. Zhou, J., Zhang, Z., Jiang, L., & Wang, S. (2018). Tai Chi Chuan can improve balance and reduce fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults: A randomized control trial. BMC Geriatrics. Retrieved from ↩︎
  2. Same as #1 ↩︎
  3. Same as #1 ↩︎
  4. Chen, W., Li, M., Li, H., Lin, Y., & Feng, Z. (2023). Tai Chi for fall prevention and balance improvement in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Geriatrics. Retrieved from ↩︎
  5. Penn, IW., Sung, WH., Lin, CH. et al. Effects of individualized Tai-Chi on balance and lower-limb strength in older adults. BMC Geriatr 19, 235 (2019). ↩︎

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