Stability limits, single-leg jump, and body awareness in older Tai Chi practitioners

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Feb;91(2):215-20. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.10.009.


Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: University-based rehabilitation center.

Participants: Tai Chi practitioners (n=24; age+/-SD, 68.5+/-6.6 y) and control subjects (n=20; age, 71.3+/-6.7 y) were recruited.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Measures included the following: (1) subjects' intentional weight shifting to 8 different spatial positions within their base of support using the limits of stability test, (2) the ability to leave the floor in single-leg jumping and to maintain balance on landing using force platform measurements, and (3) body awareness and movement behaviors using the Body Awareness Scale-Health (BAS-H).

Results: The findings showed that Tai Chi practitioners had a significantly better ability to lean further without losing stability and better directional control (P<0.01). They had a better ability to jump off the floor (P<0.05) and to maintain a longer single-leg stance after landing (P<.05) and better overall body awareness (P<.001). The single-leg jumps also correlated significantly with limits of stability measures of movement velocity, endpoint excursions, and maximum excursions but not with directional control. The BAS-H scores correlated significantly with the limits of stability measures except directional control. They also correlated significantly with the ability to jump off the floor and maintain stability after landing.

Conclusions: When compared with healthy controls, Tai Chi practitioners had better stability limits, increased ability to perform a single-leg jump, and more stability in landing on 1 leg as well as better body awareness. Significant correlations among limits of stability measures, single-leg jumping tests, and the BAS-H scores indicate the importance of body awareness in limits of stability, single-leg jumping, and landing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Image*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis / physiology*
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Tai Ji*
  • Weight-Bearing