Feasibility and outcome of an individualized Tai Chi program for improving balance and strength in the elderly: A pilot study

NeuroRehabilitation. 2018;43(4):509-518. doi: 10.3233/NRE-162061.


Background: Traditional Tai Chi is too complex for most elderly individuals. There have been few reports regarding the development of simplified Tai Chi programs to suit the physical needs of elderly adults. However, these programs were not individualized according to the participants' balance control abilities.

Objective: Purpose of this study is to develop an individualized Tai Chi program and report the feasibility of the program.

Methods: Phase 1: Five Tai Chi masters performed the Tai Chi movements on a force platform. Based on the results of center of pressure displacement and the individual's balance abilities, an individualized program was developed.Phase 2: Ten community-dwelling older adults received 24 half-hour-sessions, using the individualized Tai Chi exercise program. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) score, Timed Up & Go (TUG) test, forward reach, and strength of the knee extensor were determined before and after intervention.

Results: Participants achieved improved performance on balance control as measured with BBS (p≤0.001), TUG (p = 0.004) and forward reach (p = 0.035) as well as knee extensor strength (p = 0.002) after the program.

Conclusions: This preliminary result suggests that the individualized Tai Chi program is potentially effective to improve balance function and knee extensor strength of the elderly.

Keywords: Exercise therapy; Tai Chi; postural balance; rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee / growth & development
  • Knee / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postural Balance*
  • Tai Ji / methods*