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Tai Chi May Slow Down Age-related Decline in Muscle Strength
June 22, 2015 -
Aging is associated with a progressive decline in muscle strength, muscle mass and impaired physical function, which reduces mobility and impairs quality of life in the elderly population. The 6-2 months of exercise can enhance the muscle strength, but these improvements can only be maintained for a short period. In a new study recently published by Chinese journal of integrative medicine, a group of researchers investigated the effects of long-term Tai Chi exercise on muscle strength of lower extremities.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 205 long-term Tai Chi practitioners (age: 60-9 years) and 205 age and gentle matched controls who did not practice Tai Chi. Each of the activity group was further divided into three distinct age groups: G1, 60-9 years; G2, 70-9 years; and G3, 80-9 years. Hand-held dynamometer was used to measure the maximum isometric strength and hamstrings on both sides of the participants. Unpaired tests were performed to compare the difference of strength between the Tai Chi and non-Tai Chi groups. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to compare the lower muscle strengths among the different age groups in the two groups. Pearson's correlations were used to quantify the linear relationship between the months of TC practice and lower limbs muscle strength.

The research results showed that the strength of the muscles in the Tai Chi group did not differ among different age groups. The strength of iliopsoas, quadriceps femoris, tibialis anterior and hamstrings in Tai Chi group was higher than that in the NTC group. A correlation between muscle strength and extension of the exercise period was positive.

Results shed light on the orientation and magnitude of long-term Tai Chi in preventing muscle strength loss with aging. Tai Chi may be a good form to slow down the trend of age-related decline in muscle strength in community-dwelling population.


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