Tai chi adds benefit to cardiac rehabilitation

The addition of tai chi to endurance training (ET) leads to improved exercise tolerance and quality of life (QOL) in elderly patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), according to an Italian study. Sixty CHF patients were randomised to either combined training (CT), consisting of tai chi plus ET, or ET only (ET). All patients performed four sessions of exercise per week. At the end of the study, the distance moved in a six-minute walk test had improved in both groups, however the CT group was able to walk significantly further (77 metres further vs. 53 metres further). In addition, patients in the CT group demonstrated significantly greater leg muscle strength than those who had ET alone. Systolic blood pressure and blood levels of a heart failure marker peptide (NT-pro BNP) were also shown to decrease significantly in those who performed CT, compared with ET. Physical QOL improved in patients in the CT group to a significantly greater extent than in the ET group, and patients in the CT group also displayed a trend towards greater improvement in social and emotional QOL. (Tai chi enhances the effects of endurance training in the rehabilitation of elderly patients with chronic heart failure. Rehabil Res Pract. 2011;2011:761958. Epub 2010 Sep 13).


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