Effects of tai chi exercise on physical and psychological health of older people

Helen Hawley-Hague, Holly Blake, Helen Hawley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese form of conditioning exercise derived from martial arts and rooted in eastern philosophy and Chinese Medicine. Based on the inter-relatedness of mind, body and spirit this form of exercise focuses on producing an inner calmness which is thought to have both physical and psychological therapeutic value. This article provides a brief overview of selected current evidence examining the relationship between Tai Chi and physical, neurocognitive and psychosocial outcomes in older people. This is an emerging and growing area of research and improvements have often been reported in health functioning, physical and emotional health, reducing falls, fear of falling and risk of falls, and possibly enhancing cardiovascular functioning in older adults although the effects on bone density, cognitive and immunological functioning are less clear. Results overall are inconsistent and health improvements have not been evident in all studies. Tai Chi is becoming increasingly popular in practice, and more recent evidence is emerging which is based on experimental and longitudinal designs, although many of the proposed benefits of Tai Chi are yet to be validated in large, randomised controlled trials. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-27
    Number of pages8
    JournalCurrent Aging Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


    • Exercise interventions
    • Older people
    • Physical and psychological well-being
    • Tai chi


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