Facilitators and Barriers of Tai Chi Practice in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Qualitative Study

Author: Yan Du1, Penny Roberts2, Wei Liu3
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States. <sup>2</sup> Department of Music, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, United States. <sup>3</sup> School of Health Professionals, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, United States.
Conference/Journal: Asian Pac Isl Nurs J
Date published: 2023 Jan 23
Other: Volume ID: 7 , Pages: e42195 , Special Notes: doi: 10.2196/42195. , Word Count: 271

Numerous studies have documented the beneficial effects of Tai Chi on a variety of health outcomes, especially in older adults. However, only few studies have examined how to improve the practice and adherence of this Asian-originated exercise among older adults in Western countries.

This study aimed to identify facilitators and barriers to Tai Chi practice and adherence in community-dwelling older adults.

This study analyzed the qualitative data collected from 13 participants (mean age 62.0, SD 10.3) at the end of a 15-week randomized controlled trial conducted at a day activity senior center. Semistructured interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed; and the data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis.

Four themes emerged: perceived benefit, threats, facilitators, and barriers. Perceived threats (eg, aging and side effects of medications) and perceived benefits of Tai Chi (eg, balance) inspired participants' engagement in Tai Chi exercise. On the other hand, barriers to Tai Chi practice and adherence included instructor's teaching style, the complexity of Tai Chi postures and movements, and existing health conditions (eg, hip problems). In essence, factors like Tai Chi class availability, family and peer support, as well as practicing Tai Chi with music may facilitate Tai Chi exercise adherence.

The study findings could provide valuable information to health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, in developing and implementing effective Tai Chi programs in care plans. Considering health conditions, tailoring Tai Chi exercise instruction styles, encouraging social and peer support, and incorporating music may promote Tai Chi practice and adherence.

Keywords: Tai Chi; adherence; barriers; exercise; facilitators; gerontology; health outcomes; martial arts; muscle strengthening; older adults; practice; qualitative study.

PMID: 36720122 DOI: 10.2196/42195