Tai Chi Could Be a Healthy Move for Your Heart

0309-News-Chinese-exercises_BlogTai chi and other traditional Chinese exercises may benefit people with heart disease, researchers report.

The new review of 35 studies included more than 2,200 people in 10 countries. The investigators found that, among people with heart disease, these types of low-risk activities appeared to help lower blood pressure and levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and other unhealthy blood fats.

Tai chi, qigong and other traditional Chinese exercises were also linked to improved quality of life and reduced depression in heart disease patients, the study authors added.

But the exercises did not significantly improve heart rate, aerobic fitness levels or general health scores, according to the report published March 9 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Traditional Chinese exercises are a low-risk, promising intervention that could be helpful in improving quality of life in patients with cardiovascular diseases — the leading cause of disability and death in the world,” study co-author Yu Liu, said in a journal news release.

“But the physical and psychological benefits to these patients of this increasingly popular form of exercise must be determined based on scientific evidence,” added Liu. He is dean of the School of Kinesiology at Shanghai University of Sport in China.

The association reported in the study doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between activities such as tai chi and improved heart health.

But, the researchers said they plan to conduct randomized, controlled trials — the gold standard for scientific research — to review the effect of different types of traditional Chinese exercises on chronic diseases.

David Says:

If you’re a type “A” personality like me (yang) and millions of others what we’re most naturally drawn to is more, more, more and more. We process information quickly. We can get a LOT done in a short time. When we workout we GO FOR IT. Harder is better. Or is it? What comes most natural isn’t always best. Quite often what is needed is the “yin” side of things. We need to slow down. We need to back off. We need to de-compress. We need meditation. We need yin yoga. We need tai chi. As an Energizer Bunny it doesn’t always feel natural or comfortable to slow down but it’s exactly what is needed. Type “A” personality or not, working on mindfulness and slowing down will do you good.

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.