Last week one of my students asked if there was any research about bone density and Tai Chi - I set out on a mission to discover if there was any current research on this subject and came across this entry from Kate Lindemann.
In 2007 researches from the Department of Pathology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center published a study in theAm. J. of Chin. Med which compared the "effects of Tai Chi (TC) and resistance training (RT) on bone metabolism in the elderly. This study was small. The participants were in their late 70's and they did either TC or RT for 40 minutes three times a week for 6 months.
The outcome measures assessed were the concentrations of serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), pyridinoline (PYD), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcium, and urinary calcium.
Interestingly, the TC group were more faithful to their program than those doing the resistance training (weights)
After 6 weeks, (b) both TC and RT resulted in higher level of serum BAP relative to the baseline and the TC group exhibited a greater increase in serum BAP than the RT group;
There was an increase of serum PYD in the RT group only, not in the TC group; and the BAP/PYD ratio was higher than baseline only in the TC group, and the increase of the ratio in the TC group was greater than that in the RT group. After 12 weeks, the increase in serum PTH in the TC group was higher than the RT group.
I have reproduced a portion of the research that Kate quotes on her site. If you want to research it more fully then go over to her website.
The research is obviously not definitive but sufficient to indicate that training in Tai Chi 3 times a week (as we do) can bring benefits to bone health.
One of the things I explain in my classes is that Tai Chi is unique in that it uses both sides of the body - with rotation through 270 degrees in the Sun form. It is very good for your brain too.
Have a great week / month / year.