Beneficial effects of regular Tai Chi exercise on musculoskeletal system
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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.
Key wordsTai-Chi Chun Postmenopausal women BMD Neuromuscular function
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