Tai Chi benefits heart surgery patients

Tai Chi benefits heart surgery patients

Tai Chi benefits heart surgery patients
TAIPEI, TAIWAN. Tai Chi Chaun (TCC) is an ancient Chinese martial art which, in recent years, has become very popular in the West as a means of improving and maintaining health. TCC is an ideal low-cost exercise as it does not require any special equipment and can be performed anywhere. Recent studies have shown that TCC, despite its relatively low intensity, improves aerobic capacity and is effective in reducing anxiety, tension, and mood disturbances. Now researchers at the National Taiwan University Hospital report that patients recovering from coronary artery bypass surgery also benefit from regular TCC exercises. The study involved 20 men aged 53 to 64 years who had undergone bypass surgery and who had completed the standard phase II cardiac rehabilitation program (bicycling three times weekly for three months at 50-60 per cent of heart rate range). Nine of the men were assigned to the TCC group and the remaining eleven acted as the control group. The TCC group, led by a qualified instructor, performed TCC exercises every morning (20 minutes of warm-up exercises, 24 minutes of TCC, and 10 minutes of cool-down exercises). Each set of TCC included 108 classical postures and provided an exercise intensity of 48-57 per cent of heart rate range. The control group walked three times a week for 50 minutes in a nearby park at a speed which resulted in a heart rate range of 50-60 per cent. The aerobic fitness of both groups was measured at the start of the study and one year later using a standard bicycle ergometer. At the end of one year the average peak VO2 (a measurement of aerobic fitness) had increased by 10.3 per cent in the TCC group, but had decreased slightly in the control group. The peak work rate also increased in the TCC group by about 11.9 per cent (from 135 to 151 watt) while it decreased slightly in the control group (from 131 to 128 watt). The researchers conclude that TCC improves cardiac fitness in bypass patients. They also note that the TCC program seemed more attractive to the participants than the walking program. The members of the TCC group attended an average of 3.8 times weekly as compared to an attendance rate of only 1.7 times weekly in the control group.
Lan, Ching, et al. The effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory function in patients with coronary artery bypass surgery. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 31, May 1999, pp. 634-38

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