Tai Chi Can Improve Postural Stability

Pan J, Liu C, Zhang S, Li L. / Pub Med site

Abstract
Purpose. The aim of the study was to examine the effects of Tai Chi (TC) training on postural control when upright standing was perturbed by upper limb movement. Methods. Three groups, TC, Brisk walk (BW), and sedentary (SE), of thirty-six participants aged from 65 to 75 years were recruited from local community centers. Participants performed static balance task (quiet standing for 30 s with eyes open and closed) and fitting task (two different reaching distances X three different opening sizes to fit objects through). During tasks, the COP data was recorded while standing on the force plate. Criteria measures calculated from COP data were the maximum displacement in anterior-posterior (AP) and medial-lateral (ML) directions, the 95% confidence ellipse area (95% area), and the mean velocity. Results. No significant effect was observed in the static balance task. For fitting tasks, the group effect was observed in all directions on COP 95% area (p < 0.05) and the TC group showed reduced area. The tests of subject contrasts showed significant trends for reaching different distances and fitting different openings conditions in all directions, the 95% area, and the mean velocity (p < 0.05).

Conclusion. Compared to the other two groups, long-term TC exercise helps in reducing the effects of upper body perturbation as measured by posture sway.

Tai Chi Can Improve Postural Stability as Measured by Resistance to Perturbation Related to Upper Limb Movement among Healthy Older Adults

1. Introduction

Postural control is the ability to control the body's position and is important for daily living activities. When performing daily activities, such as walking, talking, and cleaning, people mostly maintain upright posture. Postural control ability decreases with ageing. For example, Prieto and colleagues observed that center of pressure (COP) movement decreased in increments of 3 to 5 years in the young adult group but increased in the elderly group. Furthermore, postural control has been more relevant to the risk of falling in older adults as compared to younger people since the elderly experience elevated fall risks.

Therefore, decreasing postural stability presents a serious challenge to elderly people with increasing risk of falls. By the middle of 21st century, China will become the country with mostly elderly population. In 2011, the Chinese Health Organization reported that, compared with other major epidemics, the highest mortality rate correlated to falls for people 65 years and older, 49.65/100 thousands for men and 52.80/100 thousands for women (Chinese Health Organization projections, 2011). The most common fall-related injuries include abrasions, open wounds, fractures, and brain damage [8]. Although no official document reported annual medical costs directly associated with falls in China, it should be very high on an estimation with no doubt. The data reported in the literature that spending was nearly 20 billion dollars in the US....

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