Beijing: Traditional Chinese exercises such as Tai Chi may help people reduce levels of blood presure and bad cholesterol, new research has found.
“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,” said study co-author Yu Liu, doctoral researcher at Shanghai University in China, noted.
Among participants with heart disease, Tai Chi helped reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number) by more than 9.12 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by more than 5 mm Hg on average, the findings showed.
Also, the participants of the study displayed a small, but statistically significant drop in the level of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides — the main constituent of body fat.
Further, Tai Chi also seemed to improve quality of life and reduce depression in patients with cardiovascular disease, lead author Chen Pei-Jie, doctoral researcher at the Shanghai University, noted.
However, the physical and psychological benefits to participants of this increasingly popular form of exercise must be determined based on scientific evidence, the researchers stressed.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers conducted a review of 35 studies that included 2,249 participants from 10 countries.
The review only analysed studies which randomly assigned participants to groups performing traditional Chinese exercises (most commonly Tai Chi, Qigong and Baduanjin), engaging in another form of exercise or making no change in activity level.