Prevent Falls, Improve Strength with Tai Ji Quan

OSWEGO – The Oswego County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a division of SUNY Oswego’s Office of Business and Community Relations, has implemented a new falls prevention program.

Members of the Oswego Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance class practice moves during a recent session at the Oswego Public Library. They are led by RSVP of Oswego County volunteers, Suzanne Maniccia and Mary Vanouse.

It’s called Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance.

Successful classes in Oswego and Palermo are currently under way and new classes are being planned for the fall.

RSVP encourages anyone who is interested in participating or becoming an instructor to contact RSVP Project Director, Erin Palmitese at 315-312-2318 or [email protected]

TJQMBB is a research-based exercise program that transforms martial arts movements into a therapeutic regimen to improve strength, mobility, balance and daily function.

It offers a “yin-yang” style of prevention by combining states of instability with stability for equilibrium training.

This is a self-initiated program that emphasizes an orchestrated “movement sway” around ankle and hip joints, with control of one’s center of gravity, rotational weight shifting and eye-head-hand coordination.

According to Palmitese, “The program’s goal is to improve posture, awareness of body positioning and increase lower-extremity muscle strength. It’s designed for older adults and people with balance difficulties.”

Anyone who is able to stand without assistance and follow verbal directions can be successful in TJQMBB.

The program can also accommodate individuals who need some assistance with walking, such as use of a cane.

Studies have proven that this form of exercise helps individuals gain lower limb muscle strength and sensory integration, as well as improvement in cognitive ability and balance.

A further study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared the effectiveness of a six-month program of Tai Chi classes with a program of stretching exercises for those with symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Participants in the Tai Chi classes had fewer falls and fewer fall injuries.

Their risk of falling was decreased 55 percent.

Oswego TJQMBB participant Judy P. has found the program very valuable.

“I have been taking the class for several weeks now and have noticed my balance has improved. I say I have no more ‘tip overs,’ which means if I start to fall, I can catch myself.”

No prior experience with Tai Chi is needed.

Participants will learn the movements over the course of a 24-week class in a supportive environment.

Volunteer instructor recruitment is now under way.

Individuals, aged 55 and older, who are interested in becoming certified to lead Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance classes throughout the county can find additional information at

No previous training or practice experience in this art is needed.

However, the ability to lead physically-active sessions is necessary.
Experience working with and teaching physical activity to older adults is preferred.

For more information about becoming an instructor or to be added to our participant wait list please contact Oswego County RSVP at [email protected] or call 315-312-2318.

RSVP of Oswego County is sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service, the NYS Office for the Aging; SUNY Oswego and the United Way of Greater Oswego County.