Disseminating Tai Chi in the Community: Promoting Home Practice and Improving Balance

Betty Chewning, PhD, Dale Wilson, MA, Jane E Mahoney, MD, Kristine M Hallisy, PT, DSc, Nisaratana Sangasubana, PhD, Ronald Gangnon, PhD 


Falls among older adults is a pressing public health challenge. Considerable research documents that longer tai chi courses can reduce falls and improve balance. However, longer courses can be challenging to implement. Our goal was to evaluate whether a short 6-week modified tai chi course could be effective at reducing falls risk if older adults designed a personal home practice plan to receive a greater tai chi “dose” during the 6 weeks.

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Otago Exercise Program in the United States: Comparison of 2 Implementation Models

Tiffany E. Shubert, Matthew L. Smith, Lavina Goto, Luohua Jiang, Marcia G. Ory


Otago Exercise Program (OEP) is a fall prevention program that consists of 5 warm-up exercises and 17 strength and balance exercises, which are progressed over the course of the program. This program can be administered by a PT or other healthcare professional in a home health or outpatient setting (US OEP) or in a community based setting (community OEP). This study reports significant improvements in physical and self-reported measures in both US and community OEP. There were no significant differences in improvements of outcomes measures (TUG, 30-second chair rise test, and four-stage balance test) between community and US OEP; therefore, the less costly community OEP can achieve results similar to those achieved with US OEP – especially with Timed “Up & Go” as concluded by this study.

Year study was published: 2017

Mean age of participants in study: 80 years old

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Effects of Dance on Movement Control in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Argentine Tango and American Ballroom

Madeleine E. Hackney, BFA1 and Gammon M. Earhart, PhD, PT


American smooth waltz and foxtrot as well as Argentine tango lead to significant benefits with respect to balance, motor ability, and locomotion in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease who took part in 20 hours of partnered dance instruction. These improvements were correlated to the use of external cues (music or use of partner) as well as specific movements incorporated in the particular form of dance. This study concluded that although foxtrot and tango both lead to improvements, tango was slightly more beneficial with TUG and gait (helping with freezing of gait). This was attributed to the strategies taught during tango (visual cues such as tapping partners foot or crossing one foot over the other, rhythmic rocking, backwards walking, etc.).

Year article was published: 2009

Mean age of participants in study: 67 years old

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The Effectiveness of a Community-Based Program for Reducing the Incidence of Falls in the Elderly: A Randomized Trial

Lindy Clemson, BAppSc(OT), MAppSc(OT), PhD, Robert G. Cumming, MBBS, MPH, PhD,zk Hal and Kendig, Kirsty Taylor, MPI, PhD, BA(Psych), Megan Swann, BAppSc(OT),z Robert Heard, BA(Hons), PhD,w

Summary: This 14 month randomized trial concluded Stepping On (a multifaceted community-based program using a small-group learning environment which aims to improve fall self-efficacy, encourage behavioral change, and reduce falls all together) was effective for reducing falls in communityresiding elderly people. This was demonstrated by the Stepping On group experienced a 31% reduction in falls. The Stepping On program was determined to be especially effective for men.

Year study was published: 2004

Mean age of participants in study: 78 years old

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Factors Contributing to Single- and Dual-Task Timed “Up & Go” Test Performance in Middle-Aged and Older Adults Who Are Active and Dwell in the Community

Hui-Ya Chen, Pei-Fang Tang

H-Y. Chen, PT, PhD, School of Physical Therapy, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Tai- wan, and Physical Therapy Room


When comparing the factors that contribute to performance on the single- and dual-task (serial subtraction or carrying water) TUG tests in 64 participants the following factors were found to be associated with better performance on all TUG tests (single- and dual-task): younger age, hip extensor weakness, walking speed, general mental function, and Stroop scores for word and color. However, factors contributing to solely to dual-task TUG were influenced by age and focused attention, specifically for carrying water and serial subtraction, respectively. These results suggest the importance of the combined use of the 3 TUG tests.

Year study was published: 2015

Mean age of participants in study: 71.6 years old

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Can Social Dancing Prevent Falls in Older Adults? A Protocol of the Dance, Aging, Cognition, Economics (DAnCE) Fall Prevention Randomized Controlled Trial

by Dafna Merom, Robert Cumming, Erin Mathieu, Kaarin J Anstey, Chris Rissel, Judy M Simpson, Rachael L Morton, Ester Cerin, Catherine Sherrington and Stephen R Lord


In this Australian study they are determining whether participation in social dancing will: reduce the number of falls and improve cognitive functions associated with fall risk in older people. Participants in the study completed 80 hours of dance classes (either Folk or ballroom dancing) during a 12 month period – classes were an hour long and met twice a week. The researchers concluded dance offers a novel approach to balance training and offers greater social engagement, which is a major contribution to healthy aging.

Year study was published: 2013

Mean age of participants in study: ??

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Ballroom Dance: Linking Serious Leisure to Successful Aging

by Regena G. Stevens-Ratchford


This qualitative research design explored stories of ballroom dance participants to gain an understanding of the participants’ experiences and the relation between ballroom dance and successful aging using the Successful Aging Profile (SAP). The mean years of dancing experience was 38 years including engagement in waltz, fox trot, swing, tango, rumba, samba, salsa, and cha-cha. Researchers found that the sample they interviewed all reported positive successful aging including high function and positive well-being. The main aspect of ballroom dance that fosters successful aging is the inclusion of physical activity that these individuals are interested in.

Year study was published: 2016

Mean age of participants in study: 68 years old

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