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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Nov 25

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12990-1

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Tai chi effects on balance in older adults: the role of sustained attention and myokines

Rima SOLIANIK 1, 2, Marius BRAZAITIS 1, 2, Agnė ČEKANAUSKAITĖ- KRUŠNAUSKIENĖ 1, 2

1 Institute of Sport Science and Innovations, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania; 2 Department of Health Promotion and Rehabilitation, Lithuanian Sports University, Kaunas, Lithuania


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BACKGROUND: Though previous research has shown that tai chi improves balance and reduces falls risk in older
adults, the mechanisms responsible for this improvement remains not fully investigated. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of tai chi practice in improving weight loss, cognitive processes and molecular mechanisms underlying balance control in older adults.
METHODS: Subjects aged 60-79 years were randomized to either a control group (n = 15) or a tai chi group (n = 15) for a 10-week period during COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in anthropometric characteristics, sustained attention, balance, myokines levels were assessed.
RESULTS: Weight increased in control group (p < 0.05), whereas it remained unchanged in tai chi group. Tai chi improved (p < 0.05) accuracy during go/no-go task, center of pressure velocity in the Romberg stance position with eyes closed under single and dual-task conditions, and increased (p < 0.05) levels of brain-derived neurotrophic actor and irisin, while in control group center of pressure velocity with eyes open tended to decrease. Changes in balance within 10 weeks were moderately correlated (p < 0.05) with changes in anthropometric characteristics, sustained attention and levels of myokines.
CONCLUSIONS: Thus, 10 weeks of tai chi practice induced improvements in balance, which was related with improved sustained attention, and increased myokines levels, whereas decrements in balance under pandemic conditions were related with weight gain in older adults.


KEY WORDS: BDNF; COVID-19; Elderly; Exercise; Falls; Pandemics

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