PEnsioners can reduce the risk of falls by one-fifth by practicing Tai Chi and other exercise programs, research says.
A study involving Oxford University found that older people who enrolled in training courses to improve their strength were much less likely to end up suffering the potentially fatal injuries.
Research, which examined 108 trials with 23,407 participants, found classes to improve balance and functional exercise reduce the risk of a 23 percent drop.
The average age of those in the study was 76 years, with three quarters of the participants being women.
The tests concerned retirees living independently at home, as well as in retirement communities or sheltered accommodation facilities.
The review found that exercise programs performed in group classes or at home prescribed by a physiotherapist were effective. The exercises were mostly standing up because it better enhances the balance and ability to perform day-to-day activities such as standing in a low chair or climbing stairs.
On average, those who participated in all exercise programs decreased by 23 percent less than those who did not, while Tai Chi was found to reduce the fall rate by 19 percent.
Experts have said it is less clear whether exercises such as dance and walking that do not focus on balance could reduce the risk of falling.