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Tai Chi Chuan Tai Chi is a Chinese traditional mind-body exercise and recently, it becomes popular worldwide. During the practice of Tai Chi, deep diaphragmatic breathing is integrated iewoo body motions to achieve a harmonious balance between body and mind sporrts to facilitate the flow of internal energy Qi.
Participants can choose to perform a complete set of Tai Chi or selected movements according to their needs. Previous research substantiates that Tai Chi has significant benefits to health promotion, and regularly practicing Tai Chi improves aerobic capacity, muscular strength, balance, health-related quality of life, and psychological well-being. Recent studies also prove that Tai Chi is safe and effective for patients with neurological diseases e.
Tai Chi is an aerobic exercise with mild-to-moderate intensity and is appropriate for implementation in the community. This paper reviews the existing literature on Tai Chi and introduces its health-promotion effect and the potential clinical applications.
Tai Chi Chuan is a branch of Chinese martial arts and has developed since the 17th century in China. The slow, supple, and graceful movement of Tai Chi is rooted in Taoism. Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy and has been taught by Lao Tze in the 5th-4th century B. The Taoist doctrine is focused on mind tranquility, and its goal is to achieve longevity by meditation and lifestyle modification.
In the process of development, Tai Chi differentiated into five main styles: Among them, Chen style is the oldest, while Yang style is the most popular.
The classical Tai Chi styles consisted of complex forms, and they take long time to learn and practice. Therefore, many simplified Tai Chi forms were developed to shorten the learning period.
Variations in training approaches result in significant differences in exercise intensity and training effect. Tai Chi is performed in a semisquat position Figure 1and the exercise intensity can be easily adjusted by controlling the speed and postural height. The characteristics jwwoo Tai Chi include 1 mind concentration with breathing control, 2 whole-body exercise in a semisquat posture, and 3 continuous, curved, and spiral body movements [ 1 ].
Tai Chi can be practiced alone or as a group exercise, and it has significant benefits for physical, emotional, and social functions. Participants may practice several Tai Chi movements instead of a whole set to achieve specific health benefits, such as flexibility and balance.
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However, if they want to enhance aerobic capacity or muscular strength, a complete set of classical Spprts Chi is recommended. In the recent years, Tai Chi has become a popular exercise worldwide, and researches are flourishing. The objective of this paper is to review the existing literature on Tai Chi and to introduce the characteristics of training exercise intensity and biomechanical aspectsthe effect on health catalpg aerobic capacity, muscular strength, balance, health-related quality of life and psychological well-beingand potential applications in medicine e.
An example of a typical form of Tai Chi push down and stand on one leg. The sequential motions are performed in a semi-squat posture.
From [ 1 ], with permission. The exercise intensity of Tai Chi depends on its training style, posture, and duration. Variations in training approaches result in substantial differences in exercise intensity. Lan and colleagues [ 2 ] have measured heart rate HR responses and oxygen uptake while performing classical Yang Tai Chi in middle-aged subjects. HRR is the difference between maximum heart rate and resting heart rate. HRR is typically utilized to establish HR-based training zones according to the heart rate reserve method.
The HRR method is demonstrated as follows: Previous studies reported that the energy cost during Tai Chi practice was between 3 and 6 metabolic equivalents METs depending on different styles and training requirements. Therefore, a suitable style of Tai Chi and selected movements can be chosen to fit participants’ needs. Wu and Hitt [ 5 ] have examined the kinematics of Tai Chi gait TCG and normal gait by using a motion analysis system and biomechanical force plates.
TCG had a low-impact force, an evenly distributed body weight between the fore-foot and the rear-foot, and a large medial-lateral displacement of the foot center of pressure COP. The low-impact force may be attributed to the slow speed of Tai Chi and the coordinated muscular activities of the lower extremities.
The activation duration of leg muscles, especially the knee extensors, is significantly affected by the speed of Tai Chi movement.
Practicing Tai Chi at a different speed may alter the role of muscular function in movement control [ 6 ]. Additionally, the spatial, temporal, and neuromuscular activation patterns of TCG were different with normal gait.
Normal muscle activation patterns are characterized by activation and relaxation related to the agonist and antagonist muscle groups during a specific activity. Coactivation of muscle groups is a common strategy adopted to reduce strain and shear forces at the joint [ 8 ]. Age may affect the characteristics of Tai Chi performance. The elderly people practice Tai Chi in a higher posture because of muscle weakness or degeneration of knee joints [ 9 ]. Tai Chi gait has an increased shear force and frontal plane torque at lower extremity joints than normal gait, but the shear force at lower extremity joints during TCG is lower in the elderly subjects than in the young adults [ 10 ].
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Tai Chi is a low-cost exercise because equipment and facility are not needed. In the Chinese community, most of the instructors are volunteer, and participants only need to pay minimum tuition fees.
In a recent review to evaluate the strategies to prevent falls among older people [ 12 ], Tai Chi was the most cost-effectiveness strategy to prevent falls. The peak oxygen uptake is the best indicator for aerobic capacity and is the strongest predictor of the risk of death among normal subjects and patients with cardiovascular diseases [ 13 ]. Furthermore, long-term Tai Chi practitioners displayed slower age-related decline of aerobic capacity than sedentary individuals.
According to a recent meta-analysis [ 17 ], practice of Tai Chi may significantly improve aerobic capacity. Middle-aged and older women and men benefit the most, with greater gains seen among those initially sedentary. Tai Chi is performed in the semisquat position, and various degrees of concentric and eccentric contractions are demanded in this unique posture. In the Frailty and Injuries: Cooperative Studies of Intervention Techniques FICSIT study [ 18 ], Tai Sporst program might preserve the strength gains from a 3-month strength training program using instruments, and significant gains persisted after 6 months of Tai Chi.
Twelve to 24 caatlog of Tai Chi exercise appears to be beneficial to muscular strength of lower extremities. Jacobson and colleagues [ 19 ] reported that the 12 subjects aging 20—45 years who performed form Tai Chi three times per week for 12 weeks significantly increased the muscular strength of their knee extensors.
Lan and colleagues [ 20 ] found that Tai Chi exercise enhanced strength of knee extensors at various angles. After 6 months of Yang Tai Chi training, men increased Wu and colleagues cataoog 21 ] also reported that Tai Chi participants had higher concentric and eccentric strengths of knee extensors and smaller ccatalog center of pressure excursions in both eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions than the controls.
The degree of knee flexion during single-leg stance of Tai Chi may be a key element for improving leg muscle strength [ 22 ]. The Tai Chi group demonstrated caatlog eccentric muscular strength in both knee catalogg and flexors than the control group. In elderly individuals, Li and colleagues [ 24 ] reported that a week Tai Chi program catalg The prevention of falls depends on jewpo timely initiation of an appropriate postural response.
Tai Chi intervention significantly hastened the reaction time of the semitendinosus muscle, which may help older people maintain postural control.
In a recent randomized trial, a week Tai Chi program three sessions per week also induced a significant increase in eccentric knee extensor strength in senior female subjects [ 25 ]. Standing balance is a complex process that depends on the integration of mechanical, sensory, and motor processing strategies. The sensory organization testing SOT can be used to identify problems with postural control by assessing the subject’s ability to make effective use of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive information.
During the performance of Cataoog Chi, weight shifting, body rotation, and single-leg standing in different positions are frequently practiced. Delicate joint control with muscle coordination is required during motions, and hence balance function may benefit from long-term practice of Jeqoo Chi.
cataalog In studies using simple balance tests e. In a study using computerized balance system, Tai Chi practitioners showed no difference compared to control group in simple conditions such as postural sway in standing with eyes open or close [ 29 ]. By contrast, Tai Chi participants showed better performance in complex conditions, such as eyes closed with sway surface, sway vision with sway surface, and forward-backward weight shifting test [ 29 ].
Many studies have demonstrated the advantages of Tai Chi on visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular functions, and they are described briefly below. In elderly people, Tai Chi participants had better postural stability at the more challenging condition of sway-referenced vision and support than the control group [ 29 ]. Tsang spors colleagues [ 30 ] investigated elderly Tai Chi practitioners using the SOT and found that their visual ratio was higher than that of nonpractitioners, and even comparable with that of the young subjects.
The results implied that long-term practice of Tai Chi improved balance control in the elderly population, and there was an increased reliance on the visual system during stance. Additionally, elderly Tai Chi practitioners attained the same level of balance control as young subjects when standing in reduced or conflicting sensory conditions.
In a recent study, Chen and colleagues [ 31 ] investigated the effects of Tai Jewoo for elderly persons with visual impairment and found that the Tai Chi group showed significant improvements in visual and vestibular ratios compared with the control group.
Tai Chi training puts a great emphasis on exact joint positions, and it may improve the sense of position of lower extremities. In another study, Tsang and Hui-Chan [ 34 ] reported that both Tai Chi practitioners and golfers had better knee joint proprioceptive acuity than the jswoo control subjects, and it was similar to that of the young subjects.
Training duration of Tai Chi may influence the accuracy of joint position sense. Fong and Ng [ 27 ] have compared long-term practice for 1—3 years and short-term practice for 3 months Tai Chi training for middle-aged and older individuals.
The results showed that both long-term and short-term Tai Chi training improved joint position sense, but only long-term practice could enhance dynamic standing balance. Tai Chi also improves proprioceptive function of upper extremities. Tai Chi practitioners focus specific mental attention on the body and upper extremities, which may facilitate tactile acuity and perceptual function.
Previous study showed that Tai Chi training could increase shoulder kinesthetic sense and reduce movement force variability in manual aiming tasks. Recent study also found that Tai Chi practitioners attained significantly better eye-hand coordination in finger pointing than control subjects [ 36 ].
Elderly Tai Chi practitioners had better maximal stability and average velocity than the controls under the condition of eyes closed and sway-referenced support ECSSwhich indicated improvement of balance function through vestibular mechanism [ 3237 ]. Practicing Tai Chi involves head movements and thus stimulates the sportss system. Therefore, the elderly Tai Chi practitioners could attain a higher sporrts ratio than the controls under the condition of ECSS.
Patients with dizziness and balance disorders may get benefits from Tai Chi training. McGibbon and colleagues [ 39 ] found that both Tai Chi and vestibular rehabilitation improved balance in patients with vestibulopathy, but through different mechanisms. Gaze stability is most improved in those who receive vestibular rehabilitation, but Tai Chi training improves whole-body stability and footfall stability without improving gaze stability.
In a subsequent study [ 40 ], 36 older adults with vestibulopathy were assigned to a week program of vestibular rehabilitation or Tai Chi exercise. The improvements of the Tai Chi group were associated with reorganized neuromuscular pattern in lower extremities, while the vestibular rehabilitation group only had better control of upper body motion to minimize loss of balance.
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In a recent study, MacIaszek and Osinski [ 41 ] assigned 42 older people with dizziness to either a Tai Chi group or a control group. The Tai Chi group practiced a minute exercise twice weekly for 18 weeks and showed significant improvement in up to and go test, forward deflection, backward deflection, and the maximum sway area. Balance function begins to decline from middle age, deteriorates in older age, and increases the risk of fall and injury.