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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2007 Jun;62(6):641-6.

Tae Kwon Do: an effective exercise for improving balance and walking ability in older adults.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555-1144, USA.



Age-related declines in balance and walking ability are major risk factors for falls. Older adults reduce the dynamic components of walking in an effort to achieve a more stable walking pattern. Tae Kwon Do is an exercise that trains dynamic components of balance and walking that diminish with age.


Twenty participants from a Tae Kwon Do exercise class (average age 72.7 years) and 20 nonexercising controls (average age 73.8 years) participated. Balance and walking ability for all participants were pretested and posttested using the following measures: single-leg stance (SLS), Multidirectional Reach Test (MDRT), Timed Up-and-Go (TUG), walking velocity, cadence, gait stability ratio (GSR), and sit-and-reach (S&R). Analysis of variance for a mixed design was used to assess differences at the 0.05 level of significance.


For nonexercising controls, no differences were found between pretest and posttest measures. Tae Kwon Do participants showed significant improvements on the MDRT when reaching backward, right, and left. TUG, walking velocity, GSR, and S&R also showed significant improvement in this exercising group.


Tae Kwon Do exercise was effective for improving balance and walking ability in community-dwelling older adults. These improvements were attributed to Tae Kwon Do movements that emphasize dynamic movement components typically deficient in the older adult walking pattern. Improving balance and walking ability through Tae Kwon Do exercise may serve to restore function that has declined with age and preserve mobility for older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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