Posted on Apr 20, 2012, 6 a.m.
Older men and women who regularly practice Tai Chi demonstrate improved expansion and contraction of arteries, as well as improved knee muscle strength.
Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise, is well known for its aerobic benefits. Previous studies have shown that the exercise improves cardiopulmonary function and lowers blood pressure. William WN Tsang, from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), and colleagues studied 29 older Tai Chi practitioners, average age 73.7 years, who engaged in the activity for at least 1.5 hours a week for three years; and 36 healthy control subjects, average age 71.4 years, with no Tai Chi experience. The subjects who practiced Tai Chi showed healthier blood pressure, vascular resistance, and pulse pressure, as well as greater arterial compliance and average muscle strength in knee joints. The study authors conclude that: "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.”
Xi Lu, Christina WY Hui-Chan, William WN Tsang. “Tai Chi, arterial compliance, and muscle strength in older adults.” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, April 4, 2012.