COULD TAI CHI EXERCISE IMPOVE STABILITY IN ELDERLY? STRATEGIES OF STEPPING OVER OBSTACLES

  • Qipeng Song
  • Cui Zhang
  • Dewei Mao
Keywords: obstacle crossing, single leg stance, long-term exercise

Abstract

Stepping over obstacles challenges stability and is a leading cause of falls in older adult populations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the obstacle-crossing strategies of long-term Tai Chi (TC) practitioners and exercise walkers. Thirty healthy older women (average age: 65.7 years) with either TC (n=15) experience (average experience: 8.2 years) or walking exercise (n=15; average experience: 8.8 years) participated in this study. We used three trial conditions: 1) normal walking, 2) crossing a 15cm (20% of leg length) obstacle, and 3) crossing a 23cm (30% of leg length) to assess obstacle-crossing strategy. Results showed Individuals with a TC background crossed the obstacle significantly faster with a significantly longer step relative to the exercise walkers; plantar pressure profiles between the two groups also differed. Our results suggest that obstacle-crossing strategies were affected by the type of long-term exercise.
Published
2016-05-05
Section
Coaching and Sports Activities