Tai chi: An ancient art that helps the heart

Tai chi: An ancient art that helps the heart?

The easy exercises and deep breathing of this Chinese martial art could offer excellent self-defense for the damaged or failing heart.

Tai chi, a gentle exercise that combines simple, flowing movements with deep breathing, has piqued the interest of medical researchers. Several studies suggest that this ancient Chinese practice offers a safe, helpful form of exercise for the elderly and people with chronic health problems. We're learning that it could be just the thing for people with heart failure.

Exercise poses a special challenge for many people with heart failure, whose damaged hearts can't deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to their muscles and organs. The resulting weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath make exertion difficult. Avoiding exercise further weakens the body and makes daily activities even more difficult.

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