The CDC Takes a Closer Look at Taiji Quan
According to Fox.com (Apr. 19, 2010,)more than 350 people are participating in the study by the by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) who are now paying closer attention to the benefits of the art.
A CDC finding that tai chi for arthritis rates as "evidence-based" could mean that the relaxed, mindful exercise could help countless people in publicly funded programs across the country. Smaller studies have concluded that tai chi improves strength and balance in people with arthritis. As a general guideline, people can take part in a tai chi session that lasts as long as they can walk comfortably.
It seems that as early as 2007, the CDC was interested in a more in-depth study of Taiji’s benefits for the elderly. In June 2007, CDC developed an interagency agreement with the Administration on Aging (AoA). AoA currently provides 24 states with three-year grants that are designed to mobilize the aging, public health, and non-profit networks at the state and local level. Of the 24 AoA grants, four evidence-based fall prevention models were being implemented: Matter of Balance, Stepping On, Tai Chi, and Step by Step.
Taking a look at the Preventing Falls: What Works, 2008 pamphlet available on the CDC web site,
A quote on p.7 states the following results:
"This study compared the effectiveness of a 6-month program of Tai Chi classes with a program of stretching exercises. Participants in the Tai Chi classes had fewer falls and fewer fall injuries, and their risk of falling was decreased 55 percent."
A similar study with similar conditions done in Atlanta, Georgia, yielded similar results (p.18.) The study compared a 15 week program of a condensed 10 movement Taiji form to a balance training program. After 4 months, the risk of falling more than once among participants was almost half that of people in the comparison group.
For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov
Last edited by Sri Hanuman; 4/20/2010 12:07pm at .
Total Comments 17
4/20/2010 1:37pm, #2
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- Toronto, Canada
Honestly this makes sense to me, but ... Related counter-evidence in a specific group. I want to agree, I'm just giving another part of the case.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Dec;51(12):1693-701.
Intense tai chi exercise training and fall occurrences in older, transitionally frail adults: a randomized, controlled trial.
Wolf SL, Sattin RW, Kutner M, O'Grady M, Greenspan AI, Gregor RJ.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether an intense tai chi (TC) exercise program could reduce the risk of falls more than a wellness education (WE) program in older adults meeting criteria for transitioning to frailty. DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial of 48 weeks duration. SETTING: Twenty congregate living facilities in the greater Atlanta area. PARTICIPANTS: Sample of 291 women and 20 men aged 70 to 97. CONCLUSION: TC did not reduce the RR of falling in transitionally frail, older adults, but the direction of effect observed in this study, together with positive findings seen previously in more-robust older adults, suggests that TC may be clinically important and should be evaluated further in this high-risk population.
4/20/2010 1:41pm, #3
what the hell is an intense tai chi program in the context of old people?
4/20/2010 2:22pm, #4
4/20/2010 7:56pm, #5
Seems I read somewhere, that ANY kind of activity for the elderly is better than shitting themselves in front of a TV every day.
4/20/2010 8:18pm, #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
Let's see, exercise consisting of slow, gentle movements is good for old folks? Shocking.
4/20/2010 8:33pm, #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
- Upstate NY
I took one of Roger Jahnkes Tai Chi Easy workshops and we had a couple of people from the AoA in the workshop and that was a couple years ago. There was also that consensus report done a few years ago. http://www.taichieasy.org/pdfs/consensus_doc022806.pdf
4/20/2010 8:42pm, #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
- Upstate NY
TC consists of slow, rhythmic movements that emphasize
trunk rotation, weight shifting, coordination, and a gradual
narrowing of lower extremity stance. Six of the 24
simplified TC forms that best exemplified these movements
and could be combined into a final product (2 continuous
minutes of unassisted TC exercise) were used.18 All TC
exercise was standardized by having the two instructors
practice with one another until their execution of the
movement forms to be taught in each class were identical.
One instructor was a TC grand master, and the other was
his student, who had studied with him for more than 5
years. Participants progressed from often being dependent
on assistive devices for upright support to performing 2
continuous minutes of TC without support. TC was taught
at each facility randomized to that intervention. ‘‘Intense’’
TC was defined as two sessions a week at increasing
durations starting at 60 minutes contact time and progressing
to 90 minutes over the course of 48 weeks. The actual
‘‘work’’ time, exclusive of warm up and cool down,
progressed from approximately 10 minutes to 50 minutes
over the course of the 48 weeks. Intensity must also be
considered within the context of the capability of the
participants and the physiological effort they were required
4/20/2010 9:24pm, #9
I have notice better balance and just general body movement since I started Tai Chi a few years ago. However that was Yang Style. I have recently started Chen Pan Ling which I feel is a lot better for my purposes. I don't think that most elderly people would be able to do Chen style as easily as Yang. So I'm am guessing that they are focusing on the Yang 24 form?
But either way, I don't think it would hurt to have older people getting more active. I mean there is even a Tai Chi form that people can do in chairs if their knees are F'ed up. So there is something for everyone.
Cool article, I hope they get good results.
4/20/2010 10:10pm, #10
Again, one of the major points of the article, is that the CDC is comparing simple movement and stretching exercises to Taiji, and based on current results, they are under the impression that that those practicing Taiji are less likely to have falls.
I'll leave anecdotal evidence out of this.