, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 186-190

Beneficial effects of regular Tai Chi exercise on musculoskeletal system

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Abstract

This study was performed to evaluate the potential benefits of regular Tai Chi Chun (TCC) exercise on bone mineral density (BMD) and neuromuscular function in postmenopausal women. In this cross-sectional study, 99 healthy postmenopausal women, with a mean age of 55.9 ± 3.1 years and within 10 years after the menopause, were recruited; including 48 subjects who had been regularly practicing TCC exercise for more than 3 h/week and 51 age- and sex-matched sedentary controls (CON). BMD was measured in the lumbar spine and proximal femur of the non-dominant leg (femoral neck, greater trochanter, and Ward’s triangle), using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Neuromuscular function was evaluated, including magnitude of trunk bend-and-reach, quadriceps muscle strength, and single-stance time on the nondominant leg. The TCC group showed overall higher BMD at all measurement sites, with a significant difference found at the spine (7.1%), greater trochanter (7.2%), and Ward’s triangle (7.1%) of the proximal femur (all; P < 0.05). Functional tests revealed an average 43.3% significantly greater quadriceps strength (P < 0.01), and 67.8% significantly longer single-stance time in the TCC group as compared with the CON group (P < 0.05), as well as a greater magnitude of trunk bend-and-reach in the TCC group (P = 0.08). Bivariate linear correlation analysis showed that quadriceps muscle strength was significantly correlated with the single-stance time (r = 0.41; P < 0.01). This study revealed that regular TCC exercise may have an association with higher BMD and better neuromuscular function in early postmenopausal women.