Effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise on fear of falling and balance in older adults: A meta-analysis

Author: Wenyu Zhang1, Juan Sun1, Xinghui Feng1, Huimin Zhang1, Yifang Zhang1, Miaomiao Zhao1
1 Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang, Henan, China.
Conference/Journal: Geriatr Nurs
Date published: 2023 Apr 1
Other: Volume ID: 51 , Pages: 194-201 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2023.03.019. , Word Count: 196

To assess the effect of Tai Chi exercise on fear of falling (FOF) and balance in older adults.

Chinese and English databases were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effect of Tai Chi on the fear of falling and balance of older adults. The search time limit was from inception until 13 December 2022.

A total of 13 RCTs were included and the overall quality was moderate. The results showed that Tai Chi exercise could significantly improve fear of falling [SMD = -0.54, 95%CI(-1.09, 0.01), Z =1.94, P = 0.05], dynamic balance [SMD = -2.23, 95%CI(-3.89, -0.75), Z=2.90, P = 0.004] and fall incidence [RR = 0.48, 95%CI(0.35, 0.65), Z =4.67, P <0.001] in older adults. However, its significant benefits in improving the static balance [MD = 4.16, 95%CI(-3.71, 12.04), Z =1.04, P = 0.30] in older adults were not found. The results of the subgroup analysis showed that the short-term effect of Tai Chi in reducing the fear of falling was more significant (P = 0.002).

Tai Chi could alleviate the FOF of older adults, improve balance and reduce fall incidence. However, large-sample, multi-center, high-quality randomized controlled studies are still verified in the future.

Keywords: Balance; Fear of falling; Meta analysis; Older adults; Tai Chi.

PMID: 37011491 DOI: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2023.03.019