Effects of a 12-Week Tai Chi Chuan Program Versus a Balance Training Program on Postural Control and Walking Ability in Older People

Adaptations Physiologiques à l'Exercice et Réadaptation à l'Effort, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens Cedex, France.
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.44). 01/2010; 91(1):9-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.09.014
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lelard T, Doutrellot P-L, David P, Ahmaidi S. Effects of a 12-week Tai Chi Chuan program versus a balance training program on postural control and walking ability in older people.
To compare the respective effects of 2 balance training programs: a Tai Chi (TC) program and a balance training program on static postural control and walking ability.
Randomized controlled trial.
General community.
Older subjects (N=28) participated in the study.
The TC group (n=14; mean age +/- SD, 76.8+/-5.1y) and the balance training group (n=14; 77.0+/-4.5y) were both trained for 12 weeks.
Static postural control was assessed via measurement of center of pressure sway under eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) conditions. Walking speed over a 10-meter course was also assessed.
After the 12-week training period, there were no significant differences in walking speed or postural parameters in either the EO or EC conditions for the TC and balance training groups. Performance in the EC condition was lower than in the EO condition in pretest and posttest for the balance training and TC groups. The Romberg quotient (EO/EC ratio) was significantly higher after the balance training program than the TC program (P<.05).
We cannot conclude that the balance training program has better effects than the TC program on postural control or walking ability. None of the outcome measures showed significant change posttraining in either the TC or the balance training groups. However, the differences described in the Romberg quotient after the training period between the TC and the balance training groups suggest that TC should be helpful to limit the deleterious effects of eye closure on postural balance.

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