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Practicing Tai Chi Could Improve Cardiovascular Health

Traditional Chinese exercises might reduce depression, improve quality of life for heart patients

MONDAY, March 14, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Tai chi and other traditional Chinese exercises may benefit patients with cardiovascular disease, according to a review published online March 9 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The review of 35 studies included 2,249 patients in 10 countries. The investigators found that, among patients with cardiovascular disease, these types of low-risk activities appeared to help lower blood pressure and improve levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and other blood lipids.

Tai chi, qigong, and other traditional Chinese exercises were also linked to improved quality of life and reduced depression in cardiovascular disease patients, the study authors added. But the exercises did not significantly improve heart rate, aerobic fitness levels, or general health scores.

“Traditional Chinese exercises are a low-risk, promising intervention that could be helpful in improving quality of life in patients with cardiovascular diseases — the leading cause of disability and death in the world,” study coauthor Yu Liu, Ph.D., said in a journal news release. “But the physical and psychological benefits to these patients of this increasingly popular form of exercise must be determined based on scientific evidence.” Liu is dean of the School of Kinesiology at the Shanghai University of Sport.

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