Tai chi can improve your blood pressure and other symptoms of hypertension

Tai chi is a traditional Chinese practice that focuses on breathing, movement, and relaxation. It has become increasingly popular because of its health benefits. Today, researchers continue to explore the benefits of tai chi and its potential in treating disorders. In a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers from Zhejiang Hospital in China discovered that this ancient martial art can help lower high blood pressure.

For the study, the Chinese researchers examined the effect of tai chi exercise on hypertension, particularly in young and middle-aged employees. To do this, they recruited 208 individuals with grade 1 hypertension and divided them into two groups: A treatment group and a control group. Participants in the treatment group practiced simplified tai chi for three months while those in the control group underwent general daily lifestyle intervention. The researchers then conducted a follow-up at the first and third month of intervention. They also measured the body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and blood lipid of the participants, and assessed their quality of life.

After one month of exercise, the participants who practiced tai chi experienced significant reductions in their systolic blood pressure, heart rate, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Three months later, they experienced dramatic decreases in their BMI, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. They also enjoyed improvements in their quality of life. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that tai chi is an exercise that improves the symptoms of hypertension in young and middle-aged people. (Related: Why tai chi is good for you, regardless of age and physical activity level.)

A gentle and easy exercise, tai chi can be beneficial to the heart. It is especially helpful to people with heart problems who often feel tired and weak because of their heart’s diminished pumping ability. Tai chi incorporates slow, flowing movements that are never forced, so the muscles remain relaxed. As a result, the heart and major muscle groups are safely strengthened. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association described tai chi as a promising alternative to a cardiac rehabilitation program. Heart attack survivors who were enrolled in an intensive tai chi program for three months became more active, lost more weight, and reported better quality of life than those who were enrolled in a less intensive program. Tai chi was also confirmed to be safe and well-accepted by the participants in the study.

Tai chi and its other health benefits

Tai chi also helps improve the fitness of a person. In a study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, researchers at Stanford University found that older adults who took 36 tai chi sessions in 12 weeks exhibited improvements in lower and upper body strength and flexibility.

Researchers at the University of South Florida and Fudan University in China also found that tai chi makes the brain bigger. Their study revealed that seniors who practiced tai chi thrice a week for 40 weeks experienced increases in brain volume, which is important because gray matter shrinks with age. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness also saw similar results in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program.

Tai chi can also be described as meditation in motion. So, when practiced regularly, it can improve the mood and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Learn more about how exercise improves heart health by visiting ReverseHeartDisease.news.

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