Regular Tai Chi exercise reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors
Promotion of lifestyle intervention using Tai Chi exercise for improving functional health in people with cardiovascular diseases.
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor associated with cardiovascular diseases, while regular exercise contributes to a reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality. Evidence generated from this project supports the effectiveness of Tai Chi in improving the functional health of people with chronic illnesses. A 3-month Tai Chi programme was conducted in the community for people with cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, overweight, physical inactivity and smoking. After acquiring Tai Chi skills, participants were advised to practise Tai Chi at home for at least 30 minutes per day and 5 days per week. Tai Chi exercise was then compared with brisk walking exercise. The results suggest that regular Tai Chi exercise is better than brisk walking in reducing blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and improving psychosocial well-being with long-term benefits.
Through this project, a modified 24-form Tai Chi DVD and a Tai Chi poster illustrating Tai Chi postures and movements were produced to facilitate participants’ home-based self-practice and adherence. The Tai Chi DVD and poster will be disseminated to the public via community centres and elderly centres, and to patients with chronic illnesses via health activities hosted by hospitals or healthcare providers, with an aim to help individuals develop Tai Chi skills and incorporate such exercise into their daily lives.
Compared with brisk walking, Tai Chi is more effective in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors and achieving benefits for long-term retention. A 3-month Tai Chi intervention can effectively reduce blood pressure and blood glucose levels, lower perceived stress and improve quality of life among adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Tai Chi is a potential non-pharmacologic method to reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension. It may contribute to a reduction in the use of antihypertensive medication or the possible untoward medication reactions or side effects. Tai Chi is an inexpensive and effective strategy for promoting psychosocial well-being and improving overall health, especially among adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors. The positive effects of Tai Chi have been reported in social media, newspapers and TV news, etc. It has aroused public awareness of the importance of regular exercise, and that Tai Chi is a promising exercise option that can be recommended by healthcare providers for reducing cardiovascular factors due to its ease of application and effectiveness.
Professor CHAN Wai Kiu, Aileen
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