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Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:115-123. doi: 10.1159/000134291.

Tai Chi and balance control.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC.


Balance function begins to decline from middle age on, and poor balance function increases the risk of fall and injury. Suitable exercise training may improve balance function and prevent accidental falls. The coordination of visual, proprioceptive, vestibular and musculoskeletal system is important to maintain balance. Balance function can be evaluated by functional balance testing and sensory organization testing. Tai Chi Chuan (TC) is a popular conditioning exercise in the Chinese community, and recent studies substantiate that TC is effective in balance function enhancement and falls prevention. In studies utilizing functional balance testing, TC may increase the duration of one-leg standing and the distance of functional reach. In studies utilizing sensory organization testing, TC improves static and dynamic balance, especially in more challenging sensory perturbed condition. Therefore, TC may be prescribed as an alternative exercise program for elderly subjects or balance-impaired patients. Participants can choose to perform a complete set of TC or selected movements according to their needs. In conclusion, TC may improve balance function and is appropriate for implementation in the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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