The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of regular Tai Chi (TC) practice
on muscle strength and endurance of the lower extremities in older people. Twenty-one
long-term older TC practitioners were compared with 18 regular older joggers and 22 sedentary
counterparts. Maximum concentric strength of knee flexors and extensors was tested at
angular velocities of 30° and 120°/s. Ankle dorsiflexors and plantar flexors were tested at
30°/s. Moreover the dynamic endurance of the knee flexors and extensors was assessed at the
speed of 180°/s. The strength of knee extensors and flexors in the sedentary group was significantly
lower than that in the jogging group and marginally lower than that in the TC group
at the higher velocity. For ankle joint, the subjects in both the TC group and the jogging
group generated more torque in their ankle dorsiflexors. In addition, the muscle endurance of
knee extensors was more pronounced in TC practitioners than the controls. Regular older TC
practitioners and joggers showed better scores than the sedentary controls on most of the
muscle strength and endurance measures. However, the magnitude of the exercise effects on
muscles might depend on the characteristics of different types of exercise.
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