Effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Physical and Psychological Health of Older People

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK. .
Current Aging Science 07/2011; 5(1):19-27. DOI: 10.2174/1874609811205010019
Source: PubMed


Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese form of conditioning exercise derived from martial arts and rooted in eastern philosophy and Chinese Medicine. Based on the inter-relatedness of mind, body and spirit this form of exercise focuses on producing an inner calmness which is thought to have both physical and psychological therapeutic value. This article provides a brief overview of selected current evidence examining the relationship between Tai Chi and physical, neurocognitive and psychosocial outcomes in older people. This is an emerging and growing area of research and improvements have often been reported in health functioning, physical and emotional health, reducing falls, fear of falling and risk of falls, and possibly enhancing cardiovascular functioning in older adults although the effects on bone density, cognitive and immunological functioning are less clear. Results overall are inconsistent and health improvements have not been evident in all studies. Tai Chi is becoming increasingly popular in practice, and more recent evidence is emerging which is based on experimental and longitudinal designs, although many of the proposed benefits of Tai Chi are yet to be validated in large, randomised controlled trials.

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    • "Previous studies have demonstrated that Tai Chi training enhances muscle strength (Guo et al., 2007), reduces number of falls (Leung et al., 2011), and boosts immunity (Blake and Hawley, 2012). Based on these findings, we hypothesized that Tai Chi might have an equivalent effect on the prevention of depressive symptoms ; indeed, we find this to be the case. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Due to the close association with physical and psychological health and quality of life, mood disorders, especially depressive symptoms, are an important global public-health issue. It is hypothesized that long-term physical training and mood adjustment may have a beneficial effect on the prevention of the onset of depressive symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between long-term Tai Chi training and depressive symptoms among Tai Chi practitioners. Methods: This study analyzed a cross-sectional survey including 529 Japanese Tai Chi practitioners. Tai Chi training information, including total training time and a Tai Chi grade, was assessed using a structured questionnaire, and depressive symptoms were evaluated using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) for subjects aged >= 65 and the 20-item Self-rating Depressive Scale (SDS) for subjects aged < 65 with cut-off points: GDS >= Sand SDS >= 11. Results: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 15.9%. After adjustments for potential confounding factors, the odds ratios of having depressive symptoms by increasing levels of Tai Chi training time were 1.00, 0.64 (0.37-1.11), 0.65 (0.37-1.13), 0.34 (0.18-0.65) (P for trend <001), Limitations: This is a cross-sectional study, and not for making a clinical diagnosis of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that long-term Tai Chi training is independently related to a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. These results suggest that long-term Tai Chi training may have a beneficial effect on the prevention of depressive symptoms. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Journal of Affective Disorders
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    • "Walking and the practice of TC are among the modalities of moderate physical exercise recommended for the maintenance or improvement of health in the elderly [1, 33]. Some studies have shown that Tai Chi has positive effects on cardiorespiratory function and the musculoskeletal system, improving a person's ability to control their posture and balance which, consequently, decreases their frequency of falls [1–3]. Likewise, it has been shown that the practice of Tai Chi has a positive effect on the efficiency of the antioxidant system in adult subjects and the elderly. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Tai Chi on biological markers of oxidative stress in saliva and its relationship with periodontal disease (PD) in older adults. We carried out a quasi-experimental study with a sample of 71 sedentary volunteers with PD who were divided into a control group of 34 subjects and an experimental group of 37 subjects who performed Tai Chi 5 days a week for a period of 6 months. PD status was characterized using the Periodontal Disease Index (PDI). Superoxide dismutase (SOD), total antioxidant status (TAS), and TBARS levels of both groups were measured by spectrophotometric methods. In addition, inflammation markers (TNF- α , IL-1 β , IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10) were measured by flow cytometry. We found a statistically significant increase in SOD activity (P < 0.001) and TAS concentration (P < 0.05), whereas levels of IL-1 β were significantly lower (P < 0.01). Likewise, a statistically significant decrease in the PDI (P < 0.05) was observed in subjects who performed Tai Chi during a period of 6 months. Our findings suggest that the practice of Tai Chi has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that are linked to the improvement of PD in older adults.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of using tai chi for treating major depressive disorder. Thirty-nine Chinese Americans with major depressive disorder were randomized into a 12-wk tai chi intervention or a waitlisted control group in a 2:1 ratio. The key outcome measurement was the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Positive response was defined as a decrease of 50% or more on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and remission was defined as a score of 7 or lower on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Of the participants (n = 39), 77% were women, and mean (SD) age was 55 (10) years. There were 26 (67%) participants in the tai chi intervention group and 13 (33%) in the control group. Of the participants in the tai chi group, 73% completed the intervention; no adverse events were reported. We observed trends toward improvement in the tai chi intervention group, compared with the control group, in positive treatment-response rate (24% vs. 0%) and remission rate (19% vs. 0%), although the differences in our small sample did not reach statistical significance. A randomized controlled trial of tai chi is feasible and safe in Chinese American patients with major depressive disorder. These promising pilot study results inform the design of a more definitive trial.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists
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