Is Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch’uan) an effective form of exercise for sedentary populations?

Last fall I attended a bootcamp for new personal trainers in Las Vegas. While there a number of trainers talked about how they want to show their clients how to develop bodybuilder physiques, teach clients effective weightloss strategies, or condition clients as if they were competing in MMA fights. In all of the noise, I became interested in movement. I specifically became interested in movement through internal martial arts such as Taijiquan (Tai Chi).

I believe that a person can benefit from having a nice, strong physique. I believe that more people would have a better quality of life (and better health) if they lost weight. I also believe that being as fit as an MMA fighter can have a lot of benefits, but what I know is that none of this is possible if people do not move well. Specifically, if people do not move well because they have pain, they will be less likely to exercise and more likely to become sedentary. We tend to not like pain.

I have been playing Taiji for about 4 years, and am beginning to start teaching small groups.  The people who have expressed the most interest all have one thing in common—for whatever reason, they do not move well. I have met people with poor balance and stability, arthritis, autoimmune disease, joint pain, and neurological disorders. I am interested in looking at studies that deal with all of these conditions in order to have some scientific validation that Taiji is an effective form of exercise for treating sedentary populations who suffer from debilitating conditions.


A few studies I’ll be reading over:

Chyu, M.-C., James, R. C., Sawyer, S. F., Brismee, J.-M., Xu, K. T., Poklikuha, G., et al. (2010). Effects of tai chi exercise on posturography, gait, physical function and quality of life in postmenopausal, women with osteopaenia: a randomized clinical study. Clinical Rehabilitation , 1080-1090.

Guan, H., & Koceja, D. M. (2011). Effects of Long-Term Tai Chi Practice on Balance and H-Reflex Characteristics. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine , 251-260.

Lin, M.-R., Hwang, H.-F., Wang, Y.-W., Chang, S.-H., & Wolf, S. L. (2006). Commimity-Based Tai Chi and Its Effect on Injurious Falls, Balance, Gait, and Fear of Falling in Older People. Physical Therapy , 1189-1201.

McGibbon, C. A., Krebs, D. E., Wolf, S. L., Wayne, P. M., Moxley Scarborough, D., & W, P. S. (2004). Tai Chi and vestibular rehabilitation effects on gaze and whole body stability. Journal of Vestibular Research , 467-478.

Park, I. S., Song, R., Oh, K., So, H., Kim, D., Kim, J., et al. (2009). Managing cardiovascular risks with Tai Chi in people with coronary artery disease. Journal of Advanced Nursing , 282-292.


About Prince...

I am a certified personal trainer who loves fitness, martial arts, and meditation.
This entry was posted in Corrective Exercise & Rehabilitation, Exercise & Fitness, Martial Arts, Taijiquan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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