Self-report benefits of Tai Chi practice by older adults

Author: Kutner NG//Barnhart H//Wolf SL//McNeely E////
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Conference/Journal: J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
Date published: 1997
Other: Volume ID: 52 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: P242-6 , Special Notes: linical Trial Randomized Controlled Trial , Word Count: 143

Older persons who are willing to begin exercise programs are often not willing to continue them. At the Atlanta FICSIT (Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques) site, individuals aged 70+ were randomized to Tai Chi (TC), individualized balance training (BT), and exercise control education (ED) groups for 15 weeks. In a follow-up assessment 4 months post-intervention, 130 subjects responded to exit interview questions asking about perceived benefits of participation. Both TC and BT subjects reported increased confidence in balance and movement, but only TC subjects reported that their daily activities and their overall life had been affected; many of these subjects had changed their normal physical activity to incorporate ongoing TC practice. The data suggest that when mental as well as physical control is perceived to be enhanced, with a generalized sense of improvement in overall well-being, older persons' motivation to continue exercising also increases.