Tai Chi vs. Western Exercise: for Healthy Older Adults
Aug 26, 2010 - How is Tai Chi compared to Western Exercise when it comes to improving the physical and cognitive functioning of healthy older adults? A group of researchers from College of Nursing at University of Arizona conducted a study to investigate this subject.
In their 2-phase randomized trial, 132 healthy adults aged from 63 to 75 were recruited. Thirty-seven of them were assigned to the Tai Chi group, 39 were assigned to the Western Exercise group, and the rest 56 to the control group.
In the study, both Tai Chi and Western Exercise involved combined class and home-based protocols. Physical functioning included balance, strength, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory endurance. Cognitive functioning included semantic fluency and digit-span tests. Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis.
After 6 month into the trial, the subjects in the Western Exercise group had greater improvements in upper body flexibility than those in the Tai Chi group or in the Control group. On the other hand, the subjects in the Tai Chi group had greater improvements in balance and a cognitive-function measure than those in the Western Exercise group or in the Control group. The differential cognitive-function improvements observed in the Tai Chi group were maintained through the 12 months.
This study is published in the July 2010 issue of Journal of aging and physical activity.