Background: Tai Chi (TC) has proven to be effective at improving musculoskeletal fitness by increasing upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility and overall physical health. The objectives of this study were to examine changes in musculoskeletal health-related fitness and self-reported physical health after a 16 week TC program in a low income multiple ethnicity mid to older adult population. Methods. Two hundred and nine ethnically diverse mid to older community dwelling Canadian adults residing in low income neighbourhoods were enrolled in a 16 week Yang style TC program. Body Mass Index and select musculoskeletal fitness measures including upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility and self-reported physical health measured by SF 36 were collected pre and post the TC program. Determinants of health such as age, sex, marital status, education, income, ethnicity of origin, multi-morbidity conditions, weekly physical activity, previous TC experience as well as program adherence were examined as possible musculoskeletal health-related fitness change predictors. Results: Using paired sample t-tests significant improvements were found in both upper and lower body strength, low back flexibility, and the SF 36 physical health scores (p < 0.05). Based on multiple linear regression analyses, no common health determinants explained a significant portion of the variation in percent changes of the musculoskeletal fitness and SF 36 measures. Conclusions: These results reveal that TC has the potential of having a beneficial influence on musculoskeletal health-related fitness and self-reported physical health in a mid to older low socioeconomic, ethnically diverse sample. © 2013 Manson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Manson, J., Rotondi, M., Jamnik, V., Ardern, C., & Tamim, H. (2013). Effect of tai chi on musculoskeletal health-related fitness and self-reported physical health changes in low income, multiple ethnicity mid to older adults. BMC Geriatrics, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-13-114