Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance
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Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance

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Developed by: Dr. Fuzhong Li
Program Administrator: Dr. Fuzhong Li, Oregon Research Institute
Year Program First Implemented: 2004

Overview:

The program includes 24 Tai Ji Quan forms that emphasize weight shifting, postural alignment, and coordinated movements. Synchronized breathing aligned with Tai Ji Quan movements is also integrated into the movement routine. Each session includes instructions in new movements as well as review of movements from previous sessions. Each practice session incorporates musical accompaniment.

Supporting Evidence:

This randomized, controlled trial involved a sample of 256 physically inactive, community-dwelling adults aged 70 to 92 (mean age, 77.48 years; standard deviation, 4.95 years) who were recruited through a patient database in Portland, Oregon. Participants were randomized to participate in a three-times-per-week Tai Ji Quan group or to a stretching control group for six months.

The primary outcome measure was the number of falls; the secondary outcome measures included functional balance (Berg Balance Scale, Dynamic Gait Index, Functional Reach, and single-leg standing), physical performance (50-foot speed walk, Up&Go), and fear of falling, assessed at baseline, three months, six months (intervention termination), and at a six-month post intervention follow-up.

At the end of the six-month intervention, significantly fewer falls (n=38 vs. 73; p=.007), lower proportions of fallers (28% vs. 46%; p=.01), and fewer injurious falls (7% vs. 18%; p=.03) were observed in the Tai Ji Quan group compared with the stretching control group. After adjusting for baseline covariates, the risk for multiple falls in the Tai Ji Quan group was 55% lower than that of the stretching control group (risk ratio,.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.30 to 0.70). Compared with the stretching control participants, the Tai Ji Quan participants showed significant improvements.

Reference:

Fuzhong L, Harmer P, Fisher JK, Mcauley E. Tai Chi: Improving Functional Balance and Predicting Subsequent Falls in Older Persons. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2004) 36 (12): 2046-2052.

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