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.
Copyright 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.