Tai chi practice reduces movement force variability for seniors

Author: Yan JH
Department of Health and Human Performance, The University of Houston, Texas 77204-6321, USA. jyan@uh.edu
Conference/Journal: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
Date published: 1999
Other: Volume ID: 54 , Issue ID: 12 , Pages: M629-34 , Word Count: 162

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to examine whether Tai Chi practice can reduce the inconsistency of arm movement force output in older adults. METHODS: Twenty seniors took part in the 8-week-long exercise intervention program (12 in Tai Chi practice, M = 79.3 years, SD = 2.4; and 8 in a locomotor activity group, walking or jogging, M = 79.5 years, SD = 1.9). Linear and curvilinear manual aiming movements were tested at the beginning (pretest), during 4th week (retest), and the end of the exercise program (post-test). The measure of vertical pressure on the surface of a tablet served as the dependent variable. RESULTS: The findings suggest that the Tai Chi participants significantly reduce more pressure variability than the participants in locomotor activity group after 8 weeks of practice. Additionally, seniors produced higher pressure variability in the curvilinear task than in the linear task. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence from this study proposes that Tai Chi practice may serve as a better real world exercise for reducing force variability in older adults' manual performance.