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Effect of Tai Chi Training on Obstacles Crossing Ability in the Elderly
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Tai Chi exercise on crossing obstacle in the elderly. Fifteen healthy elderly without regular and systematic physical training (normal group, age 72.6 � 5.61 yrs, height 163.13 � 8.49 cm, weight 59.97 � 8.62 kg) and 15 healthy elderly, who did Tai Chi exercise more than 5 years (Tai Chi group, age 71.73 � 4.72 yrs, height 160.13 � 7.16 cm, weight 58.30 � 6.67 kg) were participated in this study. All participants were asked to step over the obstacle barefoot at preferred speed. Ten Vicon high-speed cameras (250 Hz) were used to collect the kinematic data. Two-way mixed designed ANOVA was used for statistics and significance difference was calculated. Results indicated that Tai Chi group showed significantly greater leading foot toe-clearance, trailing foot toe-obstacle distance, leading foot heel-obstacle distance, cross stride length, stride speed, displacements of center of mass (COM) in sagittal plane, and peak velocities of center of mass in sagittal plane compared to normal group. Our findings revealed that Tai Chi group could increase the successful rate while crossing obstacle due to greater length-distance variables and may reduce the risk of fall. These effects were most likely to the performances of young adults. This study concludes that regular and Tai Chi training could improve the functional ability of crossing obstacle for the elderly.
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