An evaluation of the effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical function among older persons

Oregon Research Institute, Eugene 97403, USA.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine (Impact Factor: 4.2). 02/2001; 23(2):139-46. DOI: 10.1207/S15324796ABM2302_9
Source: PubMed


This study was designed to determine whether a 6-month Tai Chi exercise program can improve self-reported physical functioning limitations among healthy, physically inactive older individuals. Ninety-four community residents ages 65 to 96 (Mage = 72.8 years, SD = 5.1) volunteered to participate in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to either a 6-month experimental (Tai Chi) group (n = 49), which exercised twice per week for 60 min, or a wait-list control group (n = 45). A 6-item self-report physical functioning scale, assessing the extent of behavioral dysfunction caused by health problems, was used to evaluate change in physical functioning limitations as a result of Tai Chi intervention. Results indicated that compared to the control group, participants in the Tai Chi group experienced significant improvements in all aspects of physical functioning over the course of the 6-month intervention. Overall, the experimental group had 65% improvement across all 6 functional status measures ranging from daily activities such as walking and lifting to moderate-vigorous activities such as running. It was concluded that the 6-month Tai Chi exercise program was effective for improving functional status in healthy, physically inactive older adults. A self-paced and self-controlled activity such as Tai Chi has thepotential to be an effective, low-cost means of improving functional status in older persons.

13 Reads
  • Source
    • "This group of 39 mixed gender older adults were enrolled in a 12 week Yang style TC program and demonstrated significant results in muscular strength similar to our study [29]. Another group of low income Caucasian seniors living in the United States were enrolled in a 6 month TC study that focused on physical functioning as the primary outcome [35]. This study also showed significant improvements in all aspects of physical functioning [35]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tai Chi (TC) has proven to be effective at improving musculoskeletal fitness by increasing upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility and overall physical health. The objectives of this study were to examine changes in musculoskeletal health-related fitness and self-reported physical health after a 16 week TC program in a low income multiple ethnicity mid to older adult population. Two hundred and nine ethnically diverse mid to older community dwelling Canadian adults residing in low income neighbourhoods were enrolled in a 16 week Yang style TC program. Body Mass Index and select musculoskeletal fitness measures including upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility and self-reported physical health measured by SF 36 were collected pre and post the TC program. Determinants of health such as age, sex, marital status, education, income, ethnicity of origin, multi-morbidity conditions, weekly physical activity, previous TC experience as well as program adherence were examined as possible musculoskeletal health-related fitness change predictors. Using paired sample t-tests significant improvements were found in both upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility, and the SF 36 physical health scores (p < 0.05). Based on multiple linear regression analyses, no common health determinants explained a significant portion of the variation in percent changes of the musculoskeletal fitness and SF 36 measures. These results reveal that TC has the potential of having a beneficial influence on musculoskeletal health-related fitness and self-reported physical health in a mid to older low socioeconomic, ethnically diverse sample.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · BMC Geriatrics
  • Source
    • "It also involves slow and graceful stepping movements with full weight-bearing on both lower extremities, which demands a considerable amount of work by the leg muscles.8 The benefits of Tai Chi exercise have been documented for stress reduction, improved agility and balance, postural control, and lower-extremity strength in elderly people.9-12 Tai Chi has been shown to improve measures of quality of life (QoL) and balance in people with PD.13,14 "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Exercise is recommended for every patient with Parkinson's disease (PD). The effectiveness of two different forms of exercise for PD, Tai Chi and combined stretching-strengthening exercise, was compared. Patients with mild-to-moderate PD were recruited to join either the combined stretching-strengthening exercise group (n=7), the Tai Chi group (n=9), or the control (nonintervention) group (n=7). Exercise was performed three times a week over a period of 8 weeks. The Tai Chi exercise was led by certified instructors based on a Tai-Chi-for-arthritis program. The combined stretching-strengthening exercise comprised folk dancing, stepping, and elastic-band exercises. The subjects' functional fitness, parkinsonian symptoms, quality of life (QoL), and depression were evaluated. Both exercise groups yielded better results in their overall functional fitness after the intervention. However, no improvement with exercise was found for parkinsonian symptoms, as evaluated using the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale. With respect to the domains of QoL, the combined stretching-strengthening exercise group fared better in the social domain of QoL, and the Tai Chi group fared better in the emotional domain, while QoL and depression worsened in the control group. The postintervention QoL was improved relative to the control condition only for the Tai Chi group. Although the exercise interventions did not have any effect on depression, the control group was associated with a significant deterioration. Exercise improved the functional fitness and QoL of PD patients, with Tai Chi yielding better results in QoL and favorable results in functional fitness. These findings suggest that Tai Chi could be a good exercise strategy for patients with PD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Clinical Neurology
  • Source
    • "Older Tai Chi participants report higher physical function than their sedentary counterparts. Li and colleagues [11] randomly assigned 94 elderly subjects to either a 6-month Tai Chi group (60 min exercise twice weekly) or a wait-list control group. After training, the Tai Chi group experienced significant improvements in all aspects of physical functioning. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi) is a Chinese traditional mind-body exercise and recently, it becomes popular worldwide. During the practice of Tai Chi, deep diaphragmatic breathing is integrated into body motions to achieve a harmonious balance between body and mind and to facilitate the flow of internal energy (Qi). Participants can choose to perform a complete set of Tai Chi or selected movements according to their needs. Previous research substantiates that Tai Chi has significant benefits to health promotion, and regularly practicing Tai Chi improves aerobic capacity, muscular strength, balance, health-related quality of life, and psychological well-being. Recent studies also prove that Tai Chi is safe and effective for patients with neurological diseases (e.g., stroke, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cognitive dysfunction), rheumatological disease (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and fibromyalgia), orthopedic diseases (e.g., osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, low-back pain, and musculoskeletal disorder), cardiovascular diseases (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, and heart failure), chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and breast cancers. Tai Chi is an aerobic exercise with mild-to-moderate intensity and is appropriate for implementation in the community. This paper reviews the existing literature on Tai Chi and introduces its health-promotion effect and the potential clinical applications.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Show more