The Comparison of Gait Characteristics Between Older Adults Who Do Tai-Chi Chuan and Older Adults Who Do Not Do Tai-Chi Chuan

Date of Award

Spring 5-1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

Martha Walker

Committee Member

Gail Grisetti

Committee Member

John L. Echternach

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45 C44


Tai-Chi Chuan (TCC) is a traditional Chinese exercise which has become popular in the Western world recently. The reported health benefits of TCC exercise include increased lower extremity muscle strength, improved balance, improved cardiopulmonary function, reduced tension, and improved overall wellness. However, no study has demonstrated the effects of TCC exercise on walking performance. The purpose of this study is to determine whether TCC exercise has an effect on normal speed walking of older adults. Twenty-four older healthy women over 55 were recruited in this study, 12 subjects practiced TCC exercise at least two times per week and the others practiced walking but one swam. Six gait characteristics were measured and analyzed for the test, including step length, step width, left foot angle, right foot angle, velocity, and cadence. The results did not show any significant difference in these six gait characteristics between the two groups. TCC exercise is as good as regular walking for maintaining walking performance and its dynamic nature may result in the unique benefits of improved balance and ease of movement that a walking program does not have.


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