Go With the Tai Chi Flow
The ancient practice of tai chi has recently garnered attention for its stress-reducing benefits.
But a new study finds that some individuals experience an added bonus in the form of reduced blood pressure, the same reduction that is seen in those who participate in moderate aerobic activity.
Sixty-two sedentary adults over the age of 60 were assigned to one of two groups. The first group participated in a program of brisk walking and low-impact aerobics while the second group was taught tai chi.
After 12 weeks, both groups demonstrated a significant drop in systolic blood pressure (the first of the two numbers of a blood pressure reading).
On average, the aerobic group lowered its pressure by 8.4 mmHg and the blood pressure of the Tai chi group dropped by 7 mmHg.
No one was more surprised at these results than the architects of this study, which included Dr. Deborah R. Young of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md.
''You better believe we were surprised! We were expecting to see significant changes in the aerobic exercise group and minimal changes in the tai chi group,’’ said Young.
Even with such promising results, Young still encourages people, both young and old, to walk briskly on a regular basis, which is associated with a multitude of health benefits.
Source: American Heart Association, April 22, 1998
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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