A RESEARCH project led by a Bournemouth University Fellow is encouraging people with dementia to take up Tai Chi.

Led by Career Development Fellow Dr Samuel Nyma, the project aims to test whether it is of benefit to people with dementia, and of benefit for their carers.

Now he is looking for volunteers and their carers to sign up to help with the research project and reap the benefits of the martial art.

"For those taking part in the trial, they will be helping with an exciting research area; this is the first trial of Tai Chi with people with dementia in the UK. It is also the first trial in the world to include assessments to see how Tai Chi might help with people with dementia’s balance and help prevent them from falling."

Dr Nyman added: "Tai Chi is something a few years ago people may not have heard anything about. It is particularly suited for people with dementia given it is highly accessible – anyone can do it. Because it is very slow, gentle, and repetitive, people of all shapes and sizes and different abilities can do it. Even just by doing the very easy warm-up moves you can benefit from it.

"From a pilot study we did in 2016, participants were telling us they felt stronger and more confident to go out of the house on their own or to do gardening, feeling better from having done exercise, and a sense of achievement of having learnt something new."

Participants will be asked to undertake a 20 week exercise programme under the watch of Bournemouth University’s research team, while others, part of a control group, will be asked to continue with their normal NHS treatment. Participants will then be compared to see if Tai Chi can have positive effects for people with dementia.

Classes will be held across the south, from Dorset and Southampton to Eastleigh and Portsmouth. Some classes have already started in Ferndown and Fareham.

For more information, go to bournemouth.ac.uk/tai-chi