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Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:155-65. doi: 10.1159/000134296.

Tai Chi exercise and the improvement of health and well-being in older adults.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, SAR, China.


Activity participation has a positive impact on both quantity and quality of life (QOL). Regular participations in physical, social, and cultural activities are associated with successful aging. There is considerable evidence that Tai Chi has positive health benefits; physical, psychosocial and therapeutic. Furthermore, Tai Chi does not only consist of a physical component, but also sociocultural, meditative components that are believed to contribute to overall well-being. This chapter describes the benefits of Tai Chi exercise for the older adults, particularly in terms of the psychosocial aspect. The perceived meanings, associated values and well-being, as well as the impact on QOL, of Tai Chi practice among the older adults in Hong Kong are also discussed. Tai Chi exercise is chosen by the elderly participants for its gentle and soft movements. Besides the physical aspect, the benefits they describe include lifestyle issues, as well as psychological and social benefits. Evidence points out that the improvements in physical and mental health through the practice of Tai Chi among the older adults are related to their perceived level of QOL. Findings from numerous studies support the belief that the practice of Tai Chi has multiple benefits to practitioners that are not only physical in nature. It is recommended as a strategy to promote successful aging.

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