Chronic heart failure patients respond well to Tai Chi exercise which improves their quality of life , mood and exercise performance confidence.
A study of 100 patients with systolic heart failure showed the benefits of the practice.
“Historically, patients with chronic systolic heart failure were considered too frail to exercise and, through the late 1980s, avoidance of physical activity was a standard recommendation,” says the report in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
“Preliminary evidence suggests that meditative exercise may have benefits for patients with chronic systolic heart failure; this has not been rigorously tested in a large clinical sample,” said the authors.
Half of the patients took part in 12 weeks of Tai Chi based exercise in one hourly session twice a week.
At the end of the study there was no difference in the stamina of either group to walk for six minutes or in their peak oxygen uptake but the Tai Chi group had greater improvements in life quality.
They increased their daily activity, were more confident about exercise and expressed greater feelings of well being.
The authors felt “A more restricted focus on traditional measured exercise capacity may underestimate the potential benefits of integrated interventions such as Tai Chi.”