￼Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Tai Chi exercise, though practiced in China for hundreds of years, has only recently gained the interest of researchers in Western countries as an alternative form of exercise. Recently, improvements in cardiorespiratory function, balance, muscular strength, flexibility, relaxation and mood state have been associated with Tai Chi.
Additionally, reduction in blood pressure and improvement in aerobic capacity in patients with heart disease have been reported. Tai Chi requires no special facility or expensive equip- ment and can be performed either individually or in groups. Tai Chi movements are suited for persons of all ages, regardless of previous exercise experience and aerobic capacity.
Tai Chi is a low impact,low to moderate intensity exercise incorporating movements of balance, strength, flexibility, relaxation, and body alignment. Features of Tai Chi exercise include weight-shifting between right and left legs, knee flexion, straight and extended head and trunk, rotation, and asymmetrical diagonal arm and leg movements
with bent knees.
The exercise intensity of Tai Chi is variable and can be adjusted by the height of the postures, duration of the practice session, and training style. Tai Chi is performed in a semisquat position. A high-squat posture and short-training session are well suited for deconditioned persons, including those with heart disease and older adults. The exercise intensity of Tai Chi, height of the postures, and duration are all likely to affect overall improvements in aerobic capacity. However, there is a paucity of literature on the aerobic benefits of Tai Chi exercise.
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