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The effects of tai chi class on subjective exercise experiences: a preliminary study in community sports centre settings
  1. S Baltsezak1,
  2. G Dilliway2
  1. 1North Western Deanery, Sport and Exercise Medicine Training Scheme, Manchester, UK
  2. 2North Lancs Primary Care Trust, Department of Public Health, Lancaster, UK


Background Exercise Referral Schemes (ERS) are aimed at local residents to encourage them to become physically active. General practitioners use ERS when they feel their patients can benefit from organised physical activity. Subjective psychological states that occur during and after exercise are likely predictors of whether individuals are willing to adopt and maintain lifestyles that include physical activity. Therefore if Tai Chi (TC) class improves psychological affect it could be included in the range of physical activities offered to the scheme participants.

Objective This study examines short term effects of TC class on subjective well being of patients referred to ERS.

Design Within subject comparison of changes in a pre-test post-test design.

Interventions Subjective Exercise Experiences (SEES) were measured by validated questionnaire before and after the TC class. TC class consisted of warm up (10 min), learning TC techniques (25 min), performing Yang style eight steps form (7 min), and cool down (3 min). Brief Physical Activity and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were also recorded by validated questionnaires.

Setting Community Sports centre.

Participants 13 TC-naive volunteers (mean age 47) were recruited via ERS.

Results Mean RPE after TC class was 12.31 with 95% CI 10.7 to 13.8. Mean score for Positive well being improved from 15.1 to 20.5 (P-value 0.004), Mean score for Psychological distress decreased from to 12.7 to 9.4 (P-value 0.080), scores for Fatigue also decreased from 14.4 to 12.2 (P-value 0.21).

Even though mean SEES scores showed improvements in all three categories, only improvements in Positive well being was very statistically significant.

Conclusion This is the first study in the UK exploring psychological effects of TC on people taking part in ERS. The results demonstrate psychological benefits after participating in a single TC class. TC can be included in the range of physical activities offered by ERS.

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