Tai Chi Helps Improve Physical Capacity amongst Older People With Chronic Ailments
The ancient Chinese exercise Tai Chi Helps Improve Physical Capacity amongst Older People With Chronic Ailments, indicates a pooled analysis of the available evidence, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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.
Improvements from tai chi were seen in physical capacity and muscle strength in all four conditions. Symptoms including pain, stiffness, breathing disabilities and sitting time were also improved in those with osteoarthritis and COPD.
Although results are observational, they cannot be deemed definite; however, they do support previous research on tai chi and the improvement of physical capacity.
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.
“Tai Chi can improve some physical performance outcomes in four chronic conditions…but not at the expense of worsening pain or dyspnoea [breathlessness],” they write, adding that it “may provide a suitable exercise stimulus for people with several comorbidities,” and could be used as a complementary therapy in some long term conditions.
The study is appeared online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.