About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease

Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease

Font : A-A+

  • Tai -chi is safe for people with coronary heart disease.
  • Tai-chi offers physical activity of low-to-moderate level.
  • It offers exercise option for those who cannot perform other physical exercise.

The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi hold promise as an alternative exercise option for patients who decline traditional cardiac rehabilitation, according to preliminary research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Tai-chi to Replace Tedious Physical Exercise
After a heart attack, more than 60 percent of patients decline participation in cardiac rehabilitation. Although the reasons include financial concerns and distance to a rehab center, many patients stay away because they perceive physical exercise as unpleasant, painful or impossible given their current physical condition.


This is the first study suggesting that Tai Chi may improve exercise behaviors in this high-risk population.

"We thought that Tai Chi might be a good option for these people because you can start very slowly and simply and, as their confidence increases, the pace and movements can be modified to increase intensity," said Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. "Tai Chi exercise can reach low-to-moderate intensity levels. The emphasis on breathing and relaxation can also help with stress reduction and psychological distress."

Tai-chi Routine at Cardiac Rehab
Researchers adapted a Tai Chi routine for use in heart disease patients from a protocol previously used in patients with lung disease and heart failure. They compared the safety and compliance of two regimes: LITE, a shorter program with 24 classes over 12 weeks and PLUS, a longer program with 52 classes over 24 weeks. All participants received a DVD to use for home practice during and after receiving the classes.

The study was conducted at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island and included 29 physically inactive heart disease patients (8 women and 21 men, average age 67.9 years) who expressed an interest in a Tai Chi program. Although the majority had experienced a previous heart attack (58.6 percent) or procedure to open a blocked artery (PCI - 82.8 percent; CABG - 31 percent), all had declined cardiac rehabilitation and continued to have many high-risk characteristics, including current smoker (27.6 percent), diabetes (48.3 percent), high cholesterol (75.9 percent), and overweight (35 percent) or obese (45 percent). All had received physician clearance to undergo Tai Chi training and none had orthopedic problems (such as recent joint replacement surgery) that would preclude doing Tai Chi.

Researchers found Tai Chi as:
  • Safe, with no adverse events related to the exercise program except for minor muscular pain at the beginning of training.
  • Well-liked by participants (100 percent would recommend it to a friend).
  • Feasible, with patients attending about 66 percent of scheduled classes.
  • It did not raise aerobic fitness on standard tests after 3 months of either the programs.
  • It did raise the weekly amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity (as measured by a wearable device) after three and six months in the group participating in the longer program, but not in those who took part in the shorter program.
"On its own, Tai Chi wouldn't obviously replace other components of traditional cardiac rehabilitation, such as education on risk factors, diet and adherence to needed medications," said Salmoirago-Blotcher. "If proven effective in larger studies, it might be possible to offer it as an exercise option within a rehab center as a bridge to more strenuous exercise, or in a community setting with the educational components of rehab delivered outside of a medical setting."

References :
  1. Elena Salmoirago‐Blotcher et al . Tai Chi Is a Promising Exercise Option for Patients With Coronary Heart Disease Declining Cardiac Rehabilitation, Journal of the American Heart Association http:dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.006603

Source: Eurekalert

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Chrisy Ngilneii. (2017, October 12). Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease. Medindia. Retrieved on Aug 18, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/tai-chi-as-exercise-option-for-patients-with-heart-disease-173711-1.htm.

  • MLA

    Chrisy Ngilneii. " Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease". Medindia. Aug 18, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/tai-chi-as-exercise-option-for-patients-with-heart-disease-173711-1.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Chrisy Ngilneii. " Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/tai-chi-as-exercise-option-for-patients-with-heart-disease-173711-1.htm. (accessed Aug 18, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Chrisy Ngilneii. 2021. Tai Chi as Exercise Option for Patients With Heart Disease. Medindia, viewed Aug 18, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/tai-chi-as-exercise-option-for-patients-with-heart-disease-173711-1.htm.


News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Test Your Knowledge on Liver Transplantation
Organ Donation Week 2022 - 'Take the Pledge to Save Lives'
Test your Knowledge on Heart Transplantation
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cardiac Catheterization Heart Attack Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Body Mass Index Silent Killer Diseases Tips to Live Longer Heart Healthy Heart Exercise and Fitness 

Most Popular on Medindia

Drug - Food Interactions Color Blindness Calculator Blood Pressure Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India Hearing Loss Calculator Find a Doctor Accident and Trauma Care Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Drug Side Effects Calculator
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use