Investigating Yang style tai chi and its influence on physical function and fall prevention among older adults
The Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Studies Program
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Oshawa, Ontario, 2011
Falls among Canadian older adults is a growing problem, not only in terms of incident rates and its impacts, but most importantly, the vast scope of preventable morbidity and mortality. A decline in age-related physical function is acknowledged as a risk factor of falls. Community-based group exercise programs such as Yang style tai chi may help to reduce fall risk by improving components of physical function.
To investigate, a pretest- posttest experimental design was conducted. Post-intervention assessments revealed Yang style tai chi practiced three times a week over eight weeks improved balance, muscle strength and muscle endurance. These findings suggest Yang style tai chi is moderately effective in reducing fall risk but further research is needed to determine the true effectiveness of tai chi as a fall prevention strategy. This study provides directions for future research guided by a proposed conceptual framework and offers some tentative recommendations for community health practice.