Tai Chi Offers Relief for Computer Jockeys
TORONTO, January 8, 2010 -
Tai Chi can help mitigate musculoskeletal disorders caused by extended computer
use and provide a lift in mood, says a study led by the researchers of York
University in Canada.
The study looked at female computer users at the university, measuring levels of
physical fitness and psychological well-being in more than 50 staff members who
participated in a twice-weekly lunch-hour Tai Chi program.
Researchers found that participants improved their musculoskeletal and back
fitness, achieved lower resting heart rates and smaller waist circumference, and
experienced an emotional boost.
“Overall, the program was effective in improving both musculoskeletal fitness
and psychological well-being,” says study lead author Hala Tamim, Associate
Professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.
“We’re excited about these results, especially given the difficulty in treating
musculoskeletal disorders using traditional methods,” she says.
disorders, such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, are painful disorders
of muscles, nerves and tendons, often caused by work activities that are
repetitive or involve awkward postures. Women suffer from these
complications at a higher rate than men, which makes early intervention for
women particularly important, according to Tamim.
The exercise program consisted of two 50-minute classes per week for 12
consecutive weeks from May to August 2007. Classes were conducted by a
professional Tai Chi practitioner, using fitness facilities at the university.
Study participants averaged 5.8 hours a day on computers at work. The majority
(79%) perceived their physical fitness as average or above, yet 34.6% reported
that they rarely or never engaged in weekly physical activity. Of the 52
participants, 42 had never formally practiced Tai Chi prior to the study.
Tamim says the simplicity of Tai Chi
makes it especially beneficial for office workers.
“It’s something that can easily fit into a working day. You don’t need any
specialized equipment, and you’re not perspiring heavily, so there’s no need to
shower before going back to work,” she says.
The study, “Tai Chi workplace program for improving musculoskeletal fitness
among female computer users,” is published in the Dec. 23, 2009 issue of the