Donnerstag, 17. Oktober 2013

Doktorarbeit 11: Evaluating the effects of Tai Chi on physical fitness and mental health of the elderly

Manh Hung Nguyen

Fakultät für Verhaltens- Empirische Kulturwissenschaften der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, 2013

The aims of this study are to examine the effects of 24-form Tai Chi exercise in six months on physical fitness, blood pressure and perceived health as well as sleep quality, cognitive performance and balance ability of older people living in dwelling community. This study is also aimed to compare differences in physical fitness and subjectively rated health between German and Vietnamese older adults in terms cross-cultural study between Vietnamese and German samples.

Results showed that 24 week Tai Chi program can be an alternative form of exercise for older adults. The 24-form Tai Chi brings physical and psychological benefits to older adults. Strength, aerobic fitness, flexibility, dynamic balance of people who engaged in Tai Chi program were remarkably improved. Blood pressure was also significantly improved except diastole blood pressure.

The scores of self-report health in two domains of Short form 36 of Tai Chi group were better than Control group. This proved that physical and mental health was much improved after Tai Chi training. There was much improvement in balance and cognitive performance in Tai Chi group. Sleep quality was enhanced with Tai Chi exercise. Tai Chi program has been demonstrating its benefits and effects on maintaining physical and mental functioning of older adults in community. It also enhances and promotes the elder adults‟ to participate in Tai Chi in public.

This study is also an initial comparison of physical fitness and mental health of the elderly between Vietnam and Germany. The results indicated that the Vietnamese elderly reported a better performance in physical fitness. However, there is no significant change in mental health. These results answer hypotheses that whether Tai Chi exercise would improve physical, mental domains older adult‟s health as well as it would promote balance, sleep quality and cognitive performance.

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