Comparison of the effects of Tai Chi and resistance training on bone metabolism in the elderly: a feasibility study

Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(3):369-81. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X07004898.


This feasibility study compared the effects of Tai Chi (TC) and resistance training (RT) on bone metabolism in the elderly. Twenty eight sedentary, elder adults, were randomized into either TC (n = 14, 78.8 +/-1.3 years) or RT (n = 14, 79.4 +/-2.2 years) to participate in 40 min of exercise per session, 3 sessions/week for 24 weeks. The outcome measures assessed were the concentrations of serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP), pyridinoline (PYD), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcium, and urinary calcium. The TC group had a higher compliance rate than the RT group. After 6 weeks, (i) both TC and RT resulted in higher level of serum BAP relative to the baseline and the TC group exhibited a greater increase in serum BAP than the RT group; (ii) there was an increase of serum PYD in the RT group only, not in the TC group; and (iii) the BAP/PYD ratio was higher than baseline only in the TC group, and the increase of the ratio in the TC group was greater than that in the RT group. After 12 weeks, the increase in serum PTH in the TC group was higher than the RT group. After 24 weeks, there was a reduction of the urinary calcium level in the TC group relative to the baseline. In conclusion, these findings support that TC is beneficial for increasing bone formation in elderly, and long-term application is needed to substantiate the effect of TC as an alternative exercise in promotion of bone health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Exercise*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteogenesis / physiology*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tai Ji*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • pyridinoline
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Calcium