I’ve been thinking of Lola Sion recently as I read an article* about how tai chi may help prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. Lola Sion was an active woman in her early 70s, but an accident caused her to fall and break her hip bone. I don’t know if she had osteoporosis (post-war diet in rural Philippines may not have been very rich in calcium), but she never recovered from her broken hip and was bed-ridden for two years before passing.
Nowadays of course we know that a balanced diet and regular exercise help slow the loss of bone density and delay or prevent osteoporosis (a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both). Studies suggest that about one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Medications and hormone replacement may also be used to fight osteoporosis. But all medications have side effects. Why not try a form of exercise that is fun, relaxing and has many health benefits?
I am talking about tai chi, which according to the US National Institutes of Health*, may help maintain bone mineral density. T’ai chi places great emphasis on standing single-weighted (all the weight in one leg), which stimulates bone growth. One of the senior teachers in my school of tai chi, Margaret Matsumoto, had a bone density scan at age 60 and her hips showed the same bone density as a healthy 30-year-old!
The London School of T’ai Chi Chuan is offering free introductory sessions on September 19th and 20th in central London. Come along and see what tai chi and studying with us is like. We will tell you about the background of our school, some of the benefits of doing tai chi (not just for osteoporosis!), introduce you to its basic principles and have a taster class. Click here for details. All welcome!
I wonder what Lola Sion would have made of this ancient Chinese exercise? Now there’s a thought.
* Wayne, P.M., Kiel, D.P. and Krebs, D.E. (2007) ‘The effects of tai chi on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: A systematic review’, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.