Effects of Tai Chi and Western exercise on physical and cognitive functioning in healthy community-dwelling older adults

Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, Kathryn A. Newell, Rise Cherin, Martin J. Lee, Abby C. King, William L. Haskell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations


To compare the effects of Tai Chi (TC, n = 37) and Western exercise (WE, n = 39) with an attention-control group (C, n = 56) on physical and cognitive functioning in healthy adults age 69 ± 5.8 yr, in a 2-phase randomized trial. Methods: TC and WE involved combined class and home-based protocols. Physical functioning included balance, strength, fexibility, and cardiorespiratory endurance. Cognitive functioning included semantic fuency and digit-span tests. Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis. Results: At 6 mo, WE had greater improvements in upper body fexibility (F = 4.67, p =.01) than TC and C. TC had greater improvements in balance (F = 3.36, p =.04) and a cognitive-function measure (F = 7.75, p <.001) than WE and C. The differential cognitive-function improvements observed in TC were maintained through 12 mo. Conclusion: The TC and WE interventions resulted in differential improvements in physical functioning among generally healthy older adults. TC led to improvement in an indicator of cognitive functioning that was maintained through 12 mo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-279
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010



  • Aged adult
  • Executive function
  • Mind-body therapy
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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