The Effect of Tai Chi Training on the Center of Pressure Trajectory While Crossing an Obstacle in Healthy Elderly Subjects

  • Received : 2008.09.09
  • Accepted : 2008.10.28
  • Published : 2008.11.19


The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes of the center of pressure (COP) trajectory in healthy elderly subjects while crossing an obstacle before and after participation in Tai Chi training. Forty healthy elderly subjects participated either in a 12-week intervention of Tai Chi training or in a health education program. The participants were divided into two groups (the experimental group and the control group). Subsequently, the participants were pre- and post-tested on crossing over an obstacle from a quiet stance. Participants in the experimental group received Tai Chi training that emphasized the smooth integration of trunk rotation, a shift in weight bearing from bilateral to unilateral support and coordination and a gradual narrowing of the lower-extremity stance three times weekly. The participants in the control group attended a health education program one hour weekly and heard lectures about general information to promote health. Performance was assessed by recording the changes in the displacement of the COP in the anteroposterior (A-P) and mediolateral (M-L) directions using a force platform. Participants in the Tai Chi group significantly increased the A-P and M-L displacement of the COP after Tai Chi training (p<.05). No significant differences in the A-P and the M-L displacement of the COP between pre-testing and post-testing in the control group were found. This study has shown that participation in Tai Chi exercise increased the magnitude of the A-P and M-L displacement of the COP, thereby improving the ability of healthy elderly participation to generate momentum to initiate gait. These findings support the use of Tai Chi training as an effective fall-prevention program for the elderly.



Supported by : Korea Research Foundation