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  • Author: Beverly L. Roberts x
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Srikant Vallabhajosula, Beverly L. Roberts and Chris J. Hass

Tai Chi intervention has been shown to be beneficial for balance improvement. The current study examined the effectiveness of Tai Chi to improve the dynamic postural control among older adults with mobility disability. Six sedentary older adults with mobility disability participated in a 16-week Tai Chi intervention consisting of one hour sessions three times a week. Dynamic postural control was assessed pre- and post intervention as participants initiated gait in four stepping conditions: forward; 45° medially, with the stepping leg crossing over the other leg; 45° and 90° laterally. The center of pressure (CoP) displacement, velocity, and its maximum separation distance from the center of mass in the anteroposterior, mediolateral, and resultant directions were analyzed. Results showed that in the postural phase, Tai Chi increased the CoP mediolateral excursions in the medial (13%) and forward (28%) conditions, and resultant CoP center of mass distance in the medial (9%) and forward (19%) conditions. In the locomotion phase, the CoP mediolateral displacement and velocity significantly increased after the Tai Chi intervention (both by > 100% in the two lateral conditions). These results suggest that through alteration in CoP movement characteristics, Tai Chi intervention might improve the dynamic postural control during gait initiation among older adults.

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Matthew P. Buman, Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Joseph M. Dzierzewski, Adrienne Aiken Morgan, Christina S. McCrae, Beverly L. Roberts and Michael Marsiske

Background:

Using peer volunteers as delivery agents may improve translation of evidence-based physical activity promotion programs for older adults. This study examined whether tailored support from older peer volunteers could improve initiation and long-term maintenance of physical activity behavior.

Methods:

Participants were randomized to 2 16-week, group-based programs: (1) peer-delivered, theory-based support for physical activity behavior change; or (2) an intervention typically available in community settings (basic education, gym membership, and pedometer for self-monitoring), attention-matched with health education. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was assessed via daily self-report logs at baseline, at the end of the intervention (16 weeks), and at follow-up (18 months), with accelerometry validation (RT3) in a random subsample.

Results:

Seven peer volunteers and 81 sedentary adults were recruited. Retention at the end of the trial was 85% and follow-up at 18 months was 61%. Using intent-to-treat analyses, at 16 weeks, both groups had similar significant improvements in MVPA. At 18 months, the group supplemented with peer support had significantly more MVPA.

Conclusions:

Trained peer volunteers may enhance long-term maintenance of physical activity gains from a community-based intervention. This approach has great potential to be adapted and delivered inexpensively in community settings.