Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Tai chi appears to be a great way to build self esteem and encourage volunteering according to a new survey being discussed today at the Regional Conference of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Melbourne.

Already known for the significant role it plays in preventing and treating physical and psychological illnesses, Tai chi seems to hit the mark with older people when it comes to increasing happiness and feelings of self-achievement.

Ruth Wei, a postgraduate student at Murdoch University, has been investigating the effects of tai chi on building self-esteem.

Her research, through the International Taoist Tai Chi society of Western Australia, surveyed 382 Tai chi participants between January and July 2010.

According to Ms Wei, one in five reported that their confidence and attitudes towards life had improved and they had become more confident in daily life, more compassionate and tolerant towards people and less self-absorbed.

“What emerged from the survey was the more often people practised tai chi, the more often they became involved in voluntary functions, and the more likely they were to report positive changes associated with improved self-esteem,’ said Ms Wei.

The average age of the participants was 61 with 75% aged over 55 years old and 42% over 65. There were 3.5 times more women than men and half of them were retired. One or more chronic illnesses were experienced by 77% of the people surveyed.

She says that although the underlying mechanism of how Tai chi might improve self-esteem is not clear, other findings from the study such as increased social contacts, better physical and mental functioning, effective chronic illness management, and an improved ability to relax are all likely to be related.

Media inquiries:
Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540 or 040 99 252 99
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Penny Underwood

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Tai Chi, Ruth Wei, Ageing Conference, well-being, Murdoch University



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