Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tai Chi and Cardiac Rehab

Global cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality accounts for one third of all deaths, with two thirds of those deaths occurring in developing countries.


■ Heart disease is a chronic condition needing lifetime secondary prevention measures to decrease morbidity and mortality, and to improve quality of life. Cardiac rehabilitation exercise training, one aspect of cardiac recovery, traditionally includes some form of aerobic fitness and, more recently, muscle strength training to improve exercise tolerance. Tai chi, widely practiced in China for centuries, is a popular form of exercise among older Chinese persons associated with enhanced well-being and health among traditional Chinese practitioners. Recent research has reported improvement in cardio-respiratory function, balance and postural stability, fall prevention, and stress reduction. A review of the literature suggests potential benefits from tai chi exercise performed as an adjunct to cardiac rehabilitation exercise training. Tai chi is cost-effective and facilitates a lifestyle of health-related behavior practices.