Author: Christian Wehner1, Cornelia Blank1, Marjan Arvandi2, Carina Wehner3, Wolfgang Schobersberger1
1 Institute for Sports Medicine, Alpine Medicine and Health Tourism, Private University for Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall, Austria.
2 Institute of Public Health, Medical Decision Making and HTA, Private University for Health Sciences Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall, Austria.
3 WuYuan - School of Chinese Martial Arts, Kungfu, Taijiquan and Qigong, Munich, Germany.
Conference/Journal: BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med
Date published: 2021 Feb 5
Other: Volume ID: 7 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: e000817 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2020-000817. , Word Count: 242
To investigate the impact of Tai Chi training on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility, as measured by tests commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
The following databases were searched up to 31 July 2020: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE via PubMed and SPORTDiscus.
Eligibility criteria for studies:
Inclusion: (1) Randomised controlled trials published in German or English; (2) Tai Chi used as an intervention to improve physical performance; (3) Test methods commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports and (4) Participants aged ≥16 years (irrespective of health status). Exclusion: (1) Studies not focusing on Tai Chi or including Tai Chi mixed with other interventions and (2) Modified or less than eight Tai Chi movements.
Out of 3817 records, 31 studies were included in the review, 21 of them in the meta-analysis. Significant improvements in handgrip strength (2.34 kg, 95% CI 1.53 to 3.14), walking distance during 6 min (43.37 m, 95% CI 29.12 to 57.63), standing time in single-leg-stance with open eyes (6.41 s, 95% CI 4.58 to 8.24) and thoracolumbar spine flexibility (2.33 cm, 95% CI 0.11 to 4.55) were observed.
Tai Chi training seems to moderately improve physical fitness when evaluated by tests used in health-related fitness or competitive sports. Moreover, thoracolumbar spine flexibility seems to be a factor in the improvement of postural balance. Further research is needed, including younger healthy participants performing a widely used, standardised form (eg, Peking-style routine) with high-intensity movements (eg, use of lower stances).
Keywords: endurance; martial arts; meta-analysis; physical fitness.
PMID: 33614126 PMCID: PMC7871341 DOI: 10.1136/bmjsem-2020-000817