The exercise is better at reducing depression and anxiety than a powerful antidepressant, say researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles.
In the study, 112 adults aged 60 or older with major depression were treated with a standard antidepressant for a month. But 73 of the group reported only a slight improvement, and so they performed tai chi for two hours a week for 10 weeks.
At the end of the exercise, 94 per cent of the tai chi group said their depression was much improved - and 65 per cent of these said their depression had gone.
(Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2011; doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e31820ee9ef).