Effects of Extended Tai Chi Intervention on Balance and Selected Motor Functions of the Elderly

Department of Health and Sport Sciences, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, United States
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.76). 02/2007; 35(3):383-91. DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X07004904
Source: PubMed


Balance ability decreases with age, which results in an increased risk of falls for people over age 65. Tai Chi exercise appears to offer potential benefits in the reduction of falls for the elderly. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of extended (6- and 12-month) Tai Chi exercise interventions on balance and selected motor functions for senior citizens. Forty-seven subjects were recruited from two local senior centers. Twenty of them (M = 71.8 years, SD = 7.1), 11 in the Tai Chi exercise group and 9 in the control group, completed the pre-, mid- and post-tests over 12 months on five selected functional performance tests: static balance, dynamic balance, choice reaction time, heel-rise strength, and ankle flexibility. The Tai Chi group was provided with a one-hour Tai Chi exercise session per week for 12 months; the control group did not participate in any exercise program. Results showed that static balance improved significantly after a 6-month Tai Chi intervention. Moreover, the Tai Chi group maintained a higher level in the test performance compared with the control group at the end of the 12-month intervention, but there was no significant difference between the two groups. Data suggested that Tai Chi exercise intervention could produce a positive influence on balance control for the elderly over a prolonged period, but not on muscle strength and ankle flexibility.

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    • "As powerful as TC is as a good, low-intensity exercise, it is important to emphasize the social benefits as part of the participation structure that helps keep the mind engaged, combined with this, evidence has demonstrated that being active with people of similar age, ability and outlook highly influences the social rewards that are a significant factor for adherence to long-term practice [8]. Physically TC is highly appropriate for an aging population since it can be practiced by participants with one or more chronic conditions due to its low intensity, steady rhythm and low physical and mental demands but it can also specifically influence balance and motor control to reduce falls in this at risk aging population group [9]. "
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    BMC Geriatrics 10/2013; 13(1):114. DOI:10.1186/1471-2318-13-114 · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    • "The warming up exercise comprised walking around with moving hands. The Tai Chi Chih exercise involved lateral arm extension and trunk rotation, bending of knees in wide steps, moving forward and backward, sideway stepping, and weight shifting (Choi, Moon, & Song, 2005; Li, Devault, & Oteghen, 2007). The cycle of 19 movements was repeated for 40 min while listening to traditional instrumental music to maintain slow and continuous movements. "
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    10/2013; 34(5). DOI:10.1177/0733464813504491
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    • "The trade-off between tendon stiffness/resistance and compliance/elasticity is important to promote the efficiency of the spring-like AT function. With increasing stiffness, compliance generally decreases and the triceps surae muscles generate greater work to induce stretch and benefit from the storing and releasing of elastic energy (Anderson & Pandy, 1993; Arampatzis, Karamanidis, Morey-Klapsing, De Monte, & Stafilidis, 2007; Kubo, Kanehisa, & Fukunaga, 2005; Kubo, Kawakami, & Fukunaga, 1999). These properties are suggested to influence sporting performance (Arampatzis et al., 2007; Kubo, Kanehisa, Kawakami, & Fukunaga, 2000), play a role in tendinopathy aetiology (Kibler, 2003), and be altered by age, training and rehabilitation (Bojsen-Moller, Magnusson, Rasmussen, Kjaer, & Aagaard, 2005; Hansen, Aagaard, Kjaer, Larsson, & Magnusson, 2003). "
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