Mediolateral sway in single-leg stance is the best discriminator of balance performance for Tai-Chi practitioners.

Author: Mak MK//Ng PL
Affiliation: Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong.
Conference/Journal: Arch Phys Med Rehabil
Date published: 2003
Other: Volume ID: 84 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 683-6 , Word Count: 172

OBJECTIVES: To identify a balance measure that can best distinguish Tai-Chi from non-Tai-Chi practitioners and to examine whether longer Tai-Chi practice results in better balance control. DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparative study. SETTING: Community. PARTICIPANTS: Nineteen Tai-Chi practitioners (who practiced Tai Chi for 30-45min at least 3/wk for >1y) and 19 healthy subjects with regular exercise habits (who practiced Tai Chi for 30-45min at least 3/wk for >1y). INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Scores on 2 clinical tests (functional reach, gait) and 1 laboratory test (postural sway). RESULTS: Tai-Chi practitioners had better clinical test scores for functional reach, gait speed, stride length, and sway parameters during single-leg stance (P<.05). Sway in mediolateral direction during single-leg stance was the balance performance variable that best discriminated the Tai-Chi group from non-Tai-Chi group. More experience practicing Tai Chi was associated with better balance performance. CONCLUSIONS: Tai-Chi practitioners performed better both in clinical and laboratory tests when compared with subjects who did not practice Tai Chi. More Tai-Chi experience was associated with better postural control.