and Mood in the Elderly Results of a Pilot Study


Therapeutic effects of a short-term Tai Chi exercise program for the elderly were evaluated in a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design. This pilot study evaluated changes in flexibility, balance, sway, pain, and mood after a short slow-motion exer-cise. The program consisted of a series of movements involving turning, shifting weight, bending, and arm movements in combination with diaphragmatic breathing with slow movements. The measured effects included improved balance, sway, range of motion, decreased perceived pain, and lessened trait anxiety. Participants included 11 elderly females. Instruments consisted of standard goniometry, the Multiple Af-fect Adjective Check List, stopwatch measures of single-leg stance and a tandem walk (sway), and visual analog measurement of pain. Findings included significant im-provement (p =.05) in trait anxiety and pain perception. Improvements in mood, flexibility, and balance may have a profound effect on the incidence of falls, injuries, resulting disability, and overall quality of life. As the percentage of the U.S. population grows older, holistic inter-ventions that prevent falls and their debilitating injuries are increas-ingly important. Many studies verify the age-related changes in the body that impair balance and strength as one grows older and thus place the elderly at an increased risk of falling (Green & Crouse, 1995

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