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Comparative Impacts of Tai Chi, Balance Training, and a Specially-Designed Yoga Program on Balance in Older Fallers

      Abstract

      Objective

      To compare the effect of a custom-designed yoga program with 2 other balance training programs.

      Design

      Randomized controlled trial.

      Setting

      Research laboratory.

      Participants

      A group of older adults (N=39; mean age, 74.15±6.99y) with a history of falling.

      Interventions

      Three different exercise interventions (Tai Chi, standard balance training, yoga) were given for 12 weeks.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Balance performance was examined during pre- and posttest using field tests, including the 8-foot up-and-go test, 1-leg stance, functional reach, and usual and maximal walking speed. The static and dynamic balances were also assessed by postural sway and dynamic posturography, respectively.

      Results

      Training produced significant improvements in all field tests (P<.005), but group difference and time × group interaction were not detected. For postural sway, significant decreases in the area of the center of pressure with eyes open (P=.001) and eyes closed (P=.002) were detected after training. For eyes open, maximum medial-lateral velocity significantly decreased for the sample (P=.013). For eyes closed, medial-lateral displacement decreased for Tai Chi (P<.01). For dynamic posturography, significant improvements in overall score (P=.001), time on the test (P=.006), and 2 linear measures in lateral (P=.001) and anterior-posterior (P<.001) directions were seen for the sample.

      Conclusions

      Yoga was as effective as Tai Chi and standard balance training for improving postural stability and may offer an alternative to more traditional programs.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CI (confidence interval), EC (eyes closed), EO (eyes open), FR (functional reach)
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