The effects on lower limb muscle reflex, proprioception and balance with short-term and long-term Tai Chi training

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The effects on lower limb muscle reflex, proprioception and balance with short-term and long-term Tai Chi training

 

Author: Fong, Siu-ming Shirley
Title: The effects on lower limb muscle reflex, proprioception and balance with short-term and long-term Tai Chi training
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2005
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tai Chi
Proprioception
Muscular sense
Exercise -- Physiological aspects
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: xiii, 114 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1818226
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/4373
Abstract: The aim of the study is to investigate the effect on sensorimotor performance and balance with Tai Chi (TC) training. The findings will help to explain the physiological action of TC in balance training. Sixteen subjects with about three months of TC training and 16 subjects with one to three years of TC training and 16 age matched normal healthy subjects were tested using a cross-sectional study design. Subjects were tested for (1) medial hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscle reflex contraction latencies (reaction time) following a sudden postero-anterior (PA) perturbation to the trunk, (2) active knee joint angle repositioning and (3) time to maintain in a stable position on a tilt board. One-way ANCOVA was used with a set at 0.05. Significant results were further analyzed with post hoc linear contrasts. Long-term TC practitioners had significantly faster hamstrings reaction time (35.4+-16.57ms, p<0.0005), faster gastrocnemius reaction time (56.1+-62.60ms, p=0.014) and longer balance time on a tilt board (7.8+-3.97seconds, p<0.0005) than short-term TC practitioners and non-practitioners. Both long and short-term TC practitioners had significantly less knee joint angle repositioning error than non-practitioners (3.4o+-1.67o, p<0.0005 and 4.4o+-2.06o, p=0.009 respectively). This study demonstrated that one to three years of TC practice has beneficial effects of shortening the hamstrings and gastrocnemius reaction time in response to trunk perturbation, improving knee joint position sense and standing balance on a tilt board. Three months of TC practice can improve the knee joint position sense but not sufficient to improve the overall dynamic standing balance on a tilt board. The improvements in muscle reaction time and joint position sense may explain the improvement in standing balance. It is concluded that TC is a suitable exercise for the elderly to improve balance and sensorimotor performance if practiced for enough duration.

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