Tai chi effects on balance in older adults: the role of sustained attention and myokines

Author: Rima Solianik1,2, Marius Brazaitis1,2, Agnė Čekanauskaitė-Krušnauskienė3,2
1 Institute of Sport Science and Innovations, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
2 Department of Health Promotion and Rehabilitation, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
3 Institute of Sport Science and Innovations, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania - agne.cekanauskaite@lsu.lt.
Conference/Journal: J Sports Med Phys Fitness
Date published: 2022 Nov 1
Other: Volume ID: 62 , Issue ID: 11 , Pages: 1512-1518 , Special Notes: doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12990-1. , Word Count: 226

Though previous research has shown that tai chi improves balance and reduces falls risk in older adults, the mechanisms responsible for this improvement remains not fully investigated. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of tai chi practice in improving weight loss, cognitive processes and molecular mechanisms underlying balance control in older adults.

Subjects aged 60-79 years were randomized to either a control group (N.= 15) or a tai chi group (N.= 15) for a 10-week period during COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in anthropometric characteristics, sustained attention, balance, myokines levels were assessed.

Weight increased in control group (P<0.05), whereas it remained unchanged in tai chi group. Tai chi improved (P<0.05) accuracy during go/no-go task, center of pressure velocity in the Romberg stance position with eyes closed under single and dual-task conditions, and increased (P<0.05) levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and irisin, while in control group center of pressure velocity with eyes open tended to decrease. Changes in balance within 10 weeks were moderately correlated (P<0.05) with changes in anthropometric characteristics, sustained attention and levels of myokines.

Thus, 10 weeks of tai chi practice induced improvements in balance, which was related with improved sustained attention, and increased myokines levels, whereas decrements in balance under pandemic conditions were related with weight gain in older adults.

PMID: 34821494 DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12990-1