Published on 06-02-2015
There are volumes and volumes of studies regarding the health benefits of Tai Chi - many are covered in my article "the multiple health benefits of Tai Chi." One area that may be initially surprising to non-practitioners is it's role in cardiovascular development. Through a combination of using the thighs like 2nd and 3rd heart pumps and by relaxing the vascular body instead of constricting parts as in cardio training, Tai Chi practitioners receive strong cardio development without the risk of many regular cardio exercises.
This is crucial for people trying to strengthen following a heart attack where more traditional cardio workouts can be difficult - even fatal. Publishing in the American Heart Journal, a group of Brazilian researchers looked at the cardioprotective and strengthening affects of Tai Chi practice on people with recent myocardial infarctions (MI, i.e. "heart attacks"). In particular they were looking at increasing peak oxygen consumption (Vo2 peak) which is limited after a MI.
The researchers divided 60 patients who had had a MI in the last 14-21 days into two groups - a stretching group and a tai chi group. The tai group performed tai chi 3 times weekly for 12 weeks. Compared to the control the tai chi group received a significant improvement in Vo2 peak of around 14% - whereas the control group experienced a 5% decline (worsening).
They concluded saying that based on these results Tai Chi constitutes an effective form of cardiac rehabilitation for patients with recent myocardial infarctions.
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