Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®

This is an evidence-based balance training and fall prevention program for community-dwelling older adults. The program consists of an 8-form routine core with built-in exercise variations and a subroutine of integrated therapeutic movements, which, collectively, comprise a set of simple yet functional Tai Ji Quan-based moves. This approach represents a significant enhancement of traditional Tai Ji Quan by transforming the movements into therapeutic training for postural control, daily functioning and clinical rehabilitation for older adults and individuals with physical limitations. Practice focuses on stimulating musculoskeletal, sensory, and cognitive systems via self-initiated, controlled movements such as unilateral weight-bearing and weight-shifting, trunk rotation, ankle sways, and coordinated eye-head-hand movements, and taxing sensory integration, limits of stability, functional adaption, anticipatory control, compensatory responses, and effective gait patterns. The goals of the program are to improve both static and dynamic postural stability, mindful control of body positioning in space, functional walking activities, movement symmetry and coordination, and to increase range of motion around the ankle joints and build lower-extremity strength. Chair-supported progressions, from completely seated, through sit-and-stand, to chair-assisted, are also included, with a variety of challenges, to meet the specific needs and performance capabilities of the participants. Finally, a set of home-based exercises is also included to provide additional out-of-class practice. Overall, the program protocol offers an integrated training experience in motor-sensory-cognitive systems and postural control, with the ultimate goal of improving performance of daily functional tasks and reducing incidence of falls among older adults.

Note: This exercise program is designed to be used as a fall prevention intervention for community senior service providers, clinical rehabilitation, and research projects.

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