Tai Chi improves bone mineral density

Objective: To evaluate three Tai Chi (TC) exercise programs as intervention measures to compare their effects on improving rate of change in bone mineral density (BMD) in elderly individuals with osteoporosis (OP) and to propose the optimal exercise duration.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted to identify study participants based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Due to subject attrition, the number of participants analyzed decreased from 60 to 49. These participants were divided into four groups: 24-style Tai Chi Chuan group (24TCCG) (n = 13, 7 males/6 females), Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan group (TCKFFG) (n = 12, 5 males/7 females), Tai Chi Softball group (TCSBG) (n = 11, 6 males/5 females), and a control group (CG) (n = 13, 6 males/7 females).

Except for the control group, each group received different Tai Chi exercise programs four times a week for 60 min per session, lasting for 16 weeks. Bone mineral density was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at the L2-L4 lumbar vertebrae, Ward’s triangle, femoral neck, and greater trochanter. The rate of change of bone mineral density was calculated using the formula.

Results: Compared with CG, all three Tai Chi groups showed significant improvements in bone mineral density changes (P < 0.05), but their effects on the improvement of femoral neck and greater tuberosity BMD change rates were similar (P > 0.05). In addition, compared to the other exercise regimens, 24TCCG demonstrated more significant improvements in bone mineral density at the L2-L4 lumbar vertebrae region and exhibited a more pronounced improvement in Ward’s triangle bone mineral density after only 8 weeks (P < 0.05). Short-term (≤ 4 weeks) TCKFFG was more effective than TCSBG in enhancing femoral neck BMD (P < 0.05). However, statistical significance was not found (P > 0.05) in all other cases.

Conclusion: These three Tai Chi exercise programs have similar positive effects on the bone mineral density of the femoral neck and greater trochanter. However, compared with other exercise schemes, 24TCC showed a more significant improvement in bone mineral density of the L2-L4 lumbar vertebrae region after just 8 weeks, as well as a more pronounced improvement in bone mineral density of Ward’s triangle. In terms of improving femoral neck BMD, TCKFF was found to be more effective than TCSB in less than 4 weeks. This study provides evidence for the effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise in improving bone mineral density and preventing osteoporosis in the middle-aged and elderly high-risk population.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38072989/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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