The Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai chi exercise appears to be associated with improved quality of life, mood and exercise self-efficacy in patients with heart disease, according to a study in JAMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine. Historically, patients with heart disease were considered too frail to exercise and, through the late 1980s, avoidance of physical activity was a standard recommendation. Meditative exercise may have benefits for patients with heart disease. Gloria Yeh, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues evaluated 100 outpatients with heart disease. Fifty patients were randomized to a 12-week tai chi-based exercise intervention group and 50 were randomized to an education group. The tai chi intervention group consisted of one-hour group classes held twice weekly for 12 weeks. The education sessions were also held twice weekly for the same duration as the tai chi lessons. At completion, there were no significant differences in change in six-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake when comparing the tai chi and education groups; however, patients in the tai chi group had greater improvements in quality of life. The tai chi group also showed improvements in exercise self-efficacy (confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities), and related feelings of well-being. Tai chi exercise, a multi-component, mind-body training modality that is safe and has good rates of adherence, may provide value in improving daily exercise and quality of life. Health benefits of tai chi: … Read More

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