Background: Regular exercise training is one of the core components of multifactorial fall-prevention programs.
Objective: To compare the effect of Tai Chi and combined exercise prescription that consists of three main components of an exercise prescription on static balance, dynamic balance, fear of falling and mood.
Methods: Sixty older adults aged 55-76 were randomly assigned to Group 1 (Tai Chi exercise) or Group 2 (combined exercise prescription). Exercise was performed three times a week over a period of 12 weeks. Single Leg-Stance-Eyes Open (SLS-EO), Single Leg-Stance Eyes Closed (SLS-EC), computerized balance measurements, the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the Survey of Activities and Fear of Falling in the elderly (SAFFE), the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and the Beck Depression Scale (BDS) were assessed before and after the final training session.
Results: Both exercise groups yielded better results in dynamic balance assessments (TUG and BBS) at the 12th week (p< 0.05). Group 1 also showed significant improvements in the measurements of SLS-EO, SLS-EC, SAFFE, GDS, and BDS during the post-intervention period (all p< 0.05). When the groups were compared, a significant difference was found between groups in favor of Group 1 in terms of the SLS-EO and SAFFE (p< 0.05).
Conclusions: It can be concluded that Tai Chi may be a more successful exercise intervention for factors-related to falls in older people.
Keywords: Tai Chi; Tai Ji; balance; falls; frail elderly.