Tai Chi and Kung-Fu Maintain Physical Performance for Young versus Old Participants
March 21, 2016 -
Aging is associated with
declines in health components such as physical fitness, vascular health,
nutrition, and psychological wellness. A joint research by Appalachian State
University in Boone, NC and Federal University of Parana in Brazil examined
whether Tai Chi and Kung-Fu training would maintain those health components on older versus younger
Seventeen subjects were recruited
and divided into Young (age <40 years, n=9) and Old (age 40 years and above,
n=8). Participants reported twice for health screens, vascular and nutrition
assessment, and fitness tests. Mean differences were compared between groups for
all tests using Student's t-tests.
The results show that age, months
of practice, systolic blood pressure, and cardiovascular augmentation index were
significantly greater in Old versus Young. Psychologically, old practitioners
experienced greater sleep interference and overall pain. No other differences
existed for any variable.
This study indicates that the
practice of Tai Chi and Kung-Fu maintains physical fitness in older compared to younger practitioners.
However, age associated changes in cardiovascular stiffness, systolic blood
pressure, and pain were not prevented.
The study is published by the Physician and Sports Medicine in its March, 2016 issue.