Tai chi, a gentle Chinese martial art involving slow movements, outperformed moderate aerobic exercise in lowering blood pressure in a recent clinical trial.

An analysis, published in JAMA Network Open, tracked 342 18- to 65-year-olds with prehypertension, or blood pressure that is slightly higher than normal, between late July 2019 and mid-January 2022.

Participants were recruited at two hospitals in Beijing, and 169 of them were given an aerobic exercise regimen involving four 60-minute sessions a week of moderate exercise, like brisk walking or climbing stairs. The other 173 were taught a tai chi routine in group classes, then assigned four 60-minute sessions at home per week.

Throughout the study, the patients were monitored via phone calls, given health education and advised to follow the low-fat DASH diet, which emphasizes eating fruits and vegetables and was developed to improve heart health. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Researchers checked participants’ blood pressure, weight and other measures at six months and one year.

Although the groups didn’t differ in overall adherence to the program, waist circumference, weight or body mass index, after a year, there were differences in their subsequent blood pressure. Participants in the tai chi group had an average reduction of 7.01 systolic blood pressure points over 12 months, compared with a 4.61-point drop among those who performed aerobic exercise.

Diastolic blood pressure for both groups lowered over time, but the difference did not reach statistical significance.

At the beginning of the trial, both groups had blood pressures outside the ideal range, putting them at risk for hypertension. At the end of the trial, 21.8 percent of the tai chi practitioners had blood pressures within the ideal range, compared with 15.6 percent of those in the aerobic exercise group.

“These findings support the important public health value of Tai Chi to promote the prevention of cardiovascular disease in populations with prehypertension,” the researchers conclude. Other research continues to explore the potential benefits of tai chi. The exercises are associated with better balance, fall reduction, and benefits for patients with conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *