A new study published this week claims that practicing the ancient Chinese martial art of tai chi can boost the health of seniors by lowering blood pressure and strengthening muscles.
Researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University looked at 65 elderly participants from Hong Kong -- 29 of whom were recruited from local tai chi clubs and practiced tai chi for 90 minutes a week over a period of three years. Findings showed that people who practiced the technique, which entails deep breathing combined with gentle movements, showed a significant improvement in knee muscle strength.
Perhaps more importantly, regular tai chi also improved the expansion and contraction of the arteries (also known as arterial compliance), which helps ward off cardiovascular disease. Seniors in the study who didn’t practice had a 44 percent higher risk of heart disease that those who did.