Tai Chi is a form of Chinese exercise that consists of slow, gentle, flowing movements. It aims to boost muscle power, balance, and posture. Tai Chi also includes mindfulness, relaxation, and breath control. A new study has suggested that Tai Chi helps improve physical capacity among older adults with certain common long term conditions.
The research team observed that among people with breast cancer, heart failure, osteoarthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), these improvements were not at the expense of worsening pain or breathlessness.
The study findings suggested that Tai Chi was associated with trends, or definite improvement, in physical capacity and muscle strength in most or all four long term conditions. This included improvements in the six minute walking test; muscle strength, as measured by bending and stretching the knees; the time it takes to get up and move known as the TUG test. Subjects also reported an improved quality of life.
Tai Chi was also found to be improve the symptoms of pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis and in breathlessness in COPD. It was associated with improved sit to stand times among osteoarthritis patients.
The study is appeared online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.