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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher, Peter Harmer and Machiko Shirai

Low-impact exercise that appeals to elderly adults and can be done almost anywhere provides both societal and individual benefits. One such program is Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese dancelike conditioning exercise. The article presents an easily adopted and adapted 8-form Tai Chi program (Easy Tai Chi) designed for older adults or individuals with mobility challenges or physical impairments. Derived from a simplified 24-form Yang-style Tai Chi, it stresses postural control and body-limb rotational movements. Easy Tai Chi can be performed either standing or sitting, depending on the physical and functional limitations of participants. Preliminary data indicate a number of health benefits of Easy Tai Chi compared with a traditional exercise program. Although subject to further empirical evaluation, Easy Tai Chi can be applied in research settings to investigate prevention or amelioration of hypokinetic diseases and in clinical settings to treat physically frail seniors or others with functional impairments of the musculoskeletal or cardiovascular system.