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15 April 2012

Tai Chi may help improve cardiovascular function and muscle strength in older adults

This study investigated whether Tai Chi practitioners have better arterial compliance and muscle strength. Twenty-nine older Tai Chi practitioners (average age 73.7 years) and 36 healthy control subjects (71.4 years) participated in this cross-sectional study. The participants were independent in their daily living activities. They were screened for apparent cardiovascular disease and underwent arterial compliance testing and isokinetic knee muscle strength testing. The results found that Tai Chi practitioners had significantly better haemodynamic parameters than the controls as indexed by larger and small artery compliance. They also demonstrated greater eccentric muscle strength in both knee extensors and flexors. The authors conclude "The findings of better muscle strength without jeopardizing arterial compliance suggests that Tai Chi could be a suitable exercise for older persons to improve both cardiovascular function and muscle strength".

Lu X, Hui-Chan CW, Tsang WW. Tai Chi, arterial compliance, and muscle strength in older adults. Eur J Prev Cardiolog. 2012 Apr 4. [Epub ahead of print]