Tai Chi and Heart Failure
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Ever thought of Tai Chi

Tai chi improves the quality of life in people with chronic heart failure, and increases their confidence to take other exercise, although it made no significant difference to their walking capability and peak oxygen uptake says research published in Archives of Internal Medicine which is a peer reviewed medical journal published twice a month by the American Medical Association.

Researchers recruited 100 people with overall similar levels of chronic systolic heart failure and rates of comorbidities who were also demographically similar. They were randomised to either a tai chi-based exercise class for one hour twice a week, or education from a nurse practitioner for the same time, on top of usual care.

After 12 weeks, there were no significant differences between the tai chi and nurse education groups in terms of changes in how far they could walk in six minutes, or their peak oxygen intake.

But measures of quality of life improved more in the tai chi group than in the education group. These patients reported greater feelings of well-being and levels of daily activity, and were more likely to feel confident enough to perform certain exercise-related activities (measured using the Cardiac Exercise Self-Efficacy Instrument). At six months’ follow-up, more than two-thirds (68%) of people in the tai chi group said they were still practising tai chi.

The study’s authors concluded: “Tai chi exercise, a multi-component mind-body training modality that is safe and has good rates of adherence, may provide value in improving daily exercise, quality of life, self-efficacy and mood in patients with systolic heart failure.

As always you must consult a clinician before you start any new exercise.

“A more restricted focus on traditional measured exercise capacity may underestimate the potential benefits of integrated interventions such as tai chi.”



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