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Background—Tai Chi Chuan (TTC) exercise has beneficial effects on the components of physical condition and can produce a substantial reduction in the risk of multiple falls. Previous studies have shown that short term TCC exercise did not improve the scores in the single leg stance test with eyes closed and the sit and reach test. There has apparently been no research into the effects of TCC on total body rotation flexibility and heart rate responses at rest and after a three minute step test.
Methods—In this cross sectional study, 28 male TCC practitioners with an average age of 67.5 years old and 13.2 years of TCC exercise experience were recruited to form the TCC group. Another 30 sedentary men aged 66.2 were selected to serve as the control group. Measurements included resting heart rate, left and right single leg stance with eyes closed, modified sit and reach test, total body rotation test (left and right), and a three minute step test.
Results—Compared with the sedentary group, the TCC group had significantly better scores in resting heart rate, three minute step test heart rate, modified sit and reach, total body rotation test on both right and left side (p<0.01), and both right and left leg standing with eyes closed (p<0.05). According to the American Fitness Standards, the TCC group attained the 90th percentile rank for sit and reach and total body rotation test, right and left.
Conclusion—Long term regular TCC exercise has favourable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in older adults.
Key Words: Tai Chi; balance; falls; flexibility; cardiovascular fitness; aged