Qigong is an ancient Chinese meditative moving exercise similar to, but more
profound, than T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Qigong has been practiced in China for thousands of
years to improve health and longevity. In China 70 million Chinese practice qigong
daily mainly for health maintenance. In China there are many qigong clinics, and in
some hospitals qigong is integrated with traditional Chinese medicine and
conventional Western medicine. The practice of qigong is divided into three main
applications: medical, spiritual and martial.
From his book (100 Simple Things you Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer’s) Jean Carper quotes the following:
As heart breaking and devastating as Alzheimer’s is, optimism is growing that we can lessen the risk and possibly save ourselves. Experts now say that whether we develop the disease – the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 per cent of cases – is not random or fate, nor an inevitable consequence of ageing.
More interestingly for us he quotes the following:
Researchers at the University of Washington tested the physical ability of 2,288 people aged 65 or over with no signs of dementia. After six years, 319 had developed dementia. Those with the best balance and walking abilities at the start of the study were three times less likely to have developed dementia as those with lower physical abilities. The good news is that practicing can dramatically improve your balance within months or even weeks. Be sure to include exercises to maintain and improve balance in your daily routine, especially after the age of 60. Try balancing on one foot or stand up and sit down without using your hands. Adults of all ages should make it a goal to stand on one foot, eyes open, for at least 30 seconds.
This sounds like a very good reason to me to practice Tai Chi and Chi Kung.