Effects of a short eight Tai Chi-forms for the pre-frail elderly people in senior living communities

Author: Yujie Ge1, Howe Liu2, Qingwen Wu1, Anju Chen3, Zhipeng Gao1, Fengmei Xing1, Guangtian Liu1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Rehabilitation Department, North China University of Science and Technology, Tangshan City, Hebei Province, China. <sup>2</sup> Physical Therapy Department, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth USA. <sup>3</sup> Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Peking University Civil Aviation School of Clinical Medicine, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China.
Conference/Journal: Physiother Theory Pract
Date published: 2021 Jun 2
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1080/09593985.2021.1926023. , Word Count: 303

Purpose: To investigate effects of a short 8-form Tai Chi exercise on physical function, fear of falling, and depression in pre-frail elderly people living in senior communities. Methods: This 8-week randomized controlled trial was conducted in senior living communities with qualified pre-frail elderly subjects in a Tai Chi group (TCG, n= 32) and a control group (CG, n = 33). The TCG received TC intervention: three times/week, 60 min each; while the CG did usual care only. Assessments of the 30-s chair rise test (CRT), 4.5-m walking speed (WS), fear of falling (FOF), and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), were all applied at baseline, end of 4th week, and end of 8th week. Results: Between-group comparison at the 4th week showed significantly better outcomes in CRT (TCG: 14.56 ± 1.87; CG: 11.48 ± 2.83; P< .001) and WS (TCG: 4.28 ± 0.69; CG: 5.11 ± 1.16; P = .001) in the TCG than those in the CG, but not in FOF (TCG: 0.56 ± 0.56; CG: 0.79 ± 0.89; P = .228) and GDS (TCG: 7.91 ± 5.54; CG: 9.58 ± 6.85; P = .285). However, at the 8th week, significant differences (P< .001) were found in all four assessments: (1) CRT: TCG vs CG: 17.28 ± 2.00 vs 11.36± 2.94; (2) WS: TCG vs CG: 3.94 ± 0.59 vs 5.17 ± 1.22; (3) FOF: TCG vs CG: 0.16 ± 0.37 vs 1.00 ± 0.90; and (4) GDS: TCG vs CG: 3.84 ± 3.60 vs 9.97 ± 6.80, and the intervention effect of 8 weeks was better than at 4 weeks. For within-group comparison of the TCG, significant improvements were identified in CRT (P< .001), WS (P = .008), and FOF (P = .002); but not in GDS, P = .121 at the 4th week, and also in CRT (P< .001), WS (P< .001), FOF (P< .001), and GDS (P< .001) at the 8th week. On the other hand, there were no significant differences in the CG for pre- and post-comparison (CRT: P = .891; WS: P = .984; FOF: P = .636; GDS: P = .822). Conclusion: This short-form TC exercise could improve physical function (the lower limbs' strength and gait speed), fear of falling, and depression.

Keywords: TaiChi exercise; depression; fear of falling; physical function; pre-frail.

PMID: 34076569 DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2021.1926023