Effects of Tai Chi on Balance: A Population-Based Meta-Analysis
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Session presented on Monday, July 27, 2015: Purpose: The aim of this study was to systematically review and analyze the effects of Tai Chi on balance in older adults. Methods: The literature was searched for randomized clinical trials on the effects of Tai Chi on balance, as evaluated by direct, static, dynamic, and mixed measures. The effect sizes (ESs) on balance were calculated, using the standardized mean difference (d) and 95% CI. Results: Thirty-four studies were included. The overall ES of Tai Chi on static balance was medium at 3 months (ES=0.73) and small (ES=0.33) at 6 months for those with a low risk of falling. For those with a high risk of falling, the ES of Tai Chi on static balance was small (ES=0.47) at 3 months, but not significant at 6 months. When compared with no-exercise group, the ES of Tai Chi on static balance was medium (ES=0.66) at 3 months, but smaller (ES=0.37) at 6 months. The ES of Tai Chi (ES=0.31) was only significant at 6 months when compared with other exercise. Conclusion: The findings of this meta-analysis suggest that those with a low risk of falling should practice Tai Chi for 3 months to improve their balance. The effects of Tai Chi on balance in those with a high risk of falling were small but significant at 3 months, supporting the safety and effectiveness of Tai Chi. It is also important to select reliable and sensitive measures for balance to examine the effects of Tai Chi especially.