Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness with Tai Chi

Improve Cardiorespiratory Fitness with Tai Chi

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“practicing Tai Chi Chuan regularly may delay the decline of cardiorespiratory function in older individuals. In addition, TCC may be prescribed as a suitable aerobic exercise for older adults.” – J.S. Lai

 

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack.” (Centers for Disease Control). A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. In addition, lifestyle changes have proved to be effective including quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Cardiac rehabilitation programs for patients recovering from a heart attack, emphasize these lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, 60% of cardiac patients decline participation, making these patients at high risk for another attack.

 

Contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. In addition, mindfulness practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of other lifestyle changes needed such as smoking cessationweight reduction and stress reduction.  Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient mindfulness practices involving slow prescribed movements. They are gentle and completely safe, can be used with the elderly and sickly, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, they can also be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. Since Tai Chi is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise, it may be an acceptable and effective treatment for cardiac patients.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/ ), Yang and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of 5 published studies involving the application of Tai Chi practice for cardiac patients. Two studies were randomized controlled trials while 2 did not have a comparison (control) condition.

 

They report that the published studies found that Tai Chi practice produced significant improvement in the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood (VO2max) and was superior to light or moderate exercise but not different from intense exercise. Tai Chi practice also produced a significant improvement in peak heart rate in comparison to baseline and no exercise, but was inferior to intense exercise in this regard. Hence, there is evidence that Tai Chi practice can be of benefit to cardiac patients improving cardiorespiratory function.

 

The studies reviewed tended to have small samples or had week or nonexistent control conditions. So, conclusions must be tempered. The present summary, however, suggest that larger randomized controlled trials are justified. Tai Chi was not found to be as beneficial as intense exercise. But, intense exercise may be dangerous for cardiac patients. The attractiveness of the low intensity, low cost, convenient, and socially fun nature of Tai Chi practice makes it a good choice for cardiac patients.

 

So, improve cardiorespiratory fitness with Tai Chi.

 

“The slow and gentle movements of Tai Chi hold promise as an alternative exercise option for patients who decline traditional cardiac rehabilitation.” – Science Daily

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Yang YL, Wang YH, Wang SR, Shi PS, Wang C. The Effect of Tai Chi on Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Coronary Disease Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Physiol. 2018 Jan 4;8:1091. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.01091. eCollection 2017.

 

Abstract

Background: Tai Chi that originated in China as a martial art is an aerobic exercise with low-to-moderate intensity and may play a role in cardiac rehabilitation. Aim: To systematically review the effect of Tai Chi on cardiorespiratory fitness for coronary disease rehabilitation. Methods: We performed a search for Chinese and English studies in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, China Knowledge Resource Integrated Database, Wanfang Data, and China Science and Technology Journal Database. The search strategy included terms relating to or describing Tai Chi and coronary disease, and there were no exclusion criteria for other types of diseases or disorders. Further, bibliographies of the related published systematic reviews were also reviewed. The searches, data extraction, and risk of bias (ROB) assessments were conducted by two independent investigators. Differences were resolved by consensus. RevMan 5.3.0 was used to analyze the study results. We used quantitative synthesis if the included studies were sufficiently homogeneous and performed subgroup analyses for studies with different control groups. To minimize bias in our findings, we used GRADEpro to grade the available evidence. Results: Five studies were enrolled-two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three nonrandomized controlled trials (N-RCTs)-that included 291 patients. All patients had coronary disease. ROB assessments showed a relatively high selection and detection bias. Meta-analyses showed that compared to other types of low- or moderate-intensity exercise, Tai Chi could significantly improve VO2max [MD = 4.71, 95% CI (3.58, 5.84), P < 0.00001], but it seemed less effective at improving VO2max as compared to high-intensity exercise. This difference, however, was not statistically significant [MD = -1.10, 95% CI (-2.46, 0.26), P = 0.11]. The GRADEpro showed a low level of the available evidence. Conclusion: Compared to no exercise or other types of exercise with low-to-moderate intensity, Tai Chi seems a good choice for coronary disease rehabilitation in improving cardiorespiratory fitness. However, owing to the poor methodology quality, more clinical trials with large sample size, strict randomization, and clear description about detection and reporting processes are needed to further verify the evidence.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758591/

Improve Cardiopulmonary and Metabolic Condition and Body Weight with Yoga

Improve Cardiopulmonary and Metabolic Condition and Body Weight with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Every time you practice yoga, you have the chance to reclaim part of yourself that you don’t always have easy access to. It might be physical, mental, or emotional, but the process of integration is quickened by yoga practice.” – Dinabandhu Sarley

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a large number of beneficial effects on the psychological, emotional, and physical health of the individual and is helpful in the treatment of mental and physical illness, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems. This is important as cardiovascular disease is the number one killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. In addition, Metabolic Syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It generally results from overweight and abdominal obesity and includes high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. It is an important risk factor as it increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes five-fold and heart attack or stroke three-fold.

 

A myriad of treatments has been developed for heart disease including a variety of surgical procedures and medications. But the safest effective treatments are lifestyle changes. These include quitting smoking, weight reduction, improved diet, physical activity, and reducing stresses. Other safe and effective treatments are contemplative practices, such as meditation, tai chi, and yoga, have also been shown to be helpful for heart health. These practices have also been shown to be helpful for producing the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to prevent heart disease such as smoking cessationweight reduction, and stress reduction. Metabolic Syndrome can also be prevented or reverse the risk with exercise and weight loss.

 

Since, yoga is a mindfulness practice and an exercise it would seem to be ideally suited for the prevention of cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic problems. In today’s Research News article “Cardiopulmonary and metabolic effects of yoga in healthy volunteers.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2017;volume=10;issue=3;spage=115;epage=120;aulast=Divya, Divya and colleagues examine the effectiveness of yoga practice in improving cardiovascular and metabolic health in healthy adults. They recruited participants in a 41-day yoga training occurring 75 min/day, 6 days/week. Practice included meditation, breathing practice, mudras, postures, and relaxation. Before and after training they were measured for their lipid profile, thyroid function, cardiac and pulmonary function, and autonomic function.

 

They found that following the treatment there were significant improvements in cardiovascular function, including decreases resting heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, blood pressure response to standing, improvements in metabolic function, including decreases in body mass index, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood fat, and increases in pulmonary function, including increases in lung size, expiratory volume, and peak expiratory flow rate. Hence, participation in the yoga training produced significant improvements in cardiopulmonary and metabolic health.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control or comparison condition included in the study. The participants physical state prior to training was simply compared to that after training. But, the improvements were of such a magnitude that it would be unlikely to be produced by confounding factors, such as expectancy effects or the passage of time. Since the participants were healthy adults at the start of training, the improvements are even more striking. This suggests that participation in yoga practice promotes health and may delay or prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

 

So, improve cardiopulmonary and metabolic condition and body weight with yoga.

 

“Yoga burns calories, tones your body and gives you a challenging routine to perform. Further, yoga increases flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. Physiologically, yoga has been shown to decrease resting heart rate, respiration and blood pressure and improve metabolic rate.” – Nikki Prosch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Divya T S, Vijayalakshmi M T, Mini K, Asish K, Pushpalatha M, Suresh V. Cardiopulmonary and metabolic effects of yoga in healthy volunteers. Int J Yoga 2017;10:115-20

 

Abstract

Background: Yoga the spiritual union of mind with the divine intelligence of the universe aims to liberate a human being from conflicts of body–mind duality. Beneficial cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of yoga are in par with aerobic exercise, even amounting to replace the exercise model. We conducted an interventional study in healthy volunteers, to analyze the impact of short-term yoga training on cardiovascular, pulmonary, autonomic function tests, lipid profile, and thyroid function tests. Materials and Methods: A sample of fifty new recruits attending the district yoga center was subject to 75 min yoga practice a day for 41 days. Basal values of cardiovascular, pulmonary, autonomic function tests, lipid profile, and thyroid function tests were recorded before yoga training and were reassessed for postyoga changes after 41 days. Results: After yoga practice there was a significant reduction in the resting heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and mean blood pressure of the participants. Effects on autonomic function tests were variable and inconclusive. There was a significant increase in forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, and peak expiratory flow rate after yoga. A significant reduction in body mass index was observed. Effects on metabolic parameters were promising with a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar level, serum total cholesterol, serum triglycerides serum low-density lipoprotein levels, and significant increase in high-density lipoprotein. There was no significant change in thyroid function tests after yoga. Conclusion: Short-term yoga practice has no effect on thyroid functions. Yoga practice was found beneficial in maintaining physiological milieu pertaining to cardiovascular and other metabolic parameters.

 

http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2017;volume=10;issue=3;spage=115;epage=120;aulast=Divya