Background: This single-blinded, randomized controlled study investigated the effects of practicing Tai Chi on the postural control and cognitive performance of older women while dual tasking.
Methods: Community-dwelling older women (n=31) were recruited from community centers. They were randomized to Tai Chi group (n=15, 12-form Yang style Tai Chi training) or a control group (n=16, general interest classes) for 16 weeks. Balance was tested in single leg stance after stepping down from a step, with and without a concurrent auditory response task (auditory Stroop test). Balance was measured by total sway path and sway area of subject’s center of pressure (COP). The reaction time and the correctness of the auditory Stroop test were also measured.
Results: Tai Chi subjects made fewer errors in auditory Stroop test under dual-task condition after Tai Chi training (p=0.01). They also showed significant decreases in the COP path (p<0.05) and the COP area (p<0.05) in their postural control after training in both single- and dual-task conditions. The subjects in the control group did not show any significant improvement in dual-task condition after the intervention.
Conclusions: Tai Chi training improves the cognitive and postural control performance of older women when dual tasking.
The study material is original and has not been presented previously. The authors thank the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the institution where the study was performed, for financial support of this study, 07901517R. Thanks are also owed to the subjects and to the elderly centers for permission to recruit their members. The authors also thank Mr Bill Purves for his English editorial advice.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.
Research funding: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; 07901517R.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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