The long-term effects of Tai Chi on muscle strength among older people


Tai chi is a highly prescribed form of physical exercise for older people. Chinese researchers evaluated the martial arts for its ability to slow down the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength over long periods of time.

The People’s Liberation Army General Hospital supported the researchers. The findings of the study were published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.

  • The study group was comprised of 205 participants who have practiced tai chi for many years, as well as 205 non-practitioners of the martial arts. The ages of the participants ranged from 60 to 89 years old.
  • Both tai chi (TC) and non-tai chi (NTC) groups were further subdivided according to age: 60-69 years, 70-79 years, and 80-89 years.
  • The maximum isometric strength of important muscles was determined through handheld dynamometry units. Other tests compared the muscle strength of the TC and NTC groups, the lower muscle strength of the age sub-groups for both groups, and the linear relationship between the length of tai chi training and the muscle strength of the lower limbs.
  • Among tai chi practitioners, the muscle strength of members did not change despite the difference in their ages. Furthermore, their muscles proved stronger than their equivalents in the non-tai chi group.
  •  Increasing the length of the exercise period was noted to have improved the strength of the participant’s muscles.

The researchers believed that tai chi offered an effective means of maintaining the muscle strength of older people over long periods of time.

HealingArts.news can tell you more about the ways tai chi and other forms of physical exercise can keep you healthy as you grow older.

Journal Reference:

Zhou M, Peng N, Dai Q, Li HW, Shi RG, Huang W. EFFECT OF TAI CHI ON MUSCLE STRENGTH OF THE LOWER EXTREMITIES IN THE ELDERLY. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 27 May 2015;22(11):861–866. DOI: 10.1007/s11655-015-2104-7.

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