The Effects of Tai chi on Simple and Choice Reaction Time in Older Adults

Date

2003-08

Authors

Frankenberg, Angelyn J.

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Abstract

Regular exercise can reduce the impact of aging on physical health and may also have cognitive benefits. This study investigated the effects of 8 weeks of Tai Chi on static balance, simple reaction time (SRT), and choice reaction time (CRT). The experimental group consisted of 1 male and 5 female residents of a retirement community (age = 83.3 + 5.2 years, range = 74-88). The TC class met 3 times per week for 8 weeks (23 classes, mean number of classes attended = 19). The control group consisted of 2 male and 5 female residents of the same community (age = 83.3 + 3.7 years, range = 78-88), who did not take part in the Tai Chi class. Pretests and post-tests were conducted for static balance, SRT, and CRT. No significant changes in balance time or SRT were noted for either group, however, the TC group’s CRT was 15% faster on the post-test than on the pretest (pretest CRT = 718.8 + 133.3 ms; post-test CRT = 610.0 + 124 1 ms) These results indicate that Tai Chi practice may contribute to improved processing speed in older adults.

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Keywords

Tai chi, Physical fitness, Older people

Citation

Frankenberg, A. J. (2003). <i>The effects of Tai chi on simple and choice reaction time in older adults</i> (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.

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