In the journals
Tai chi helps improve balance and coordination, especially among older adults. Now, a study published June 1, 2021, in Annals of Internal Medicine has shown that the ancient mind-body practice also offers much the same health benefits as conventional exercise.
Researchers randomly divided 543 obese people, ages 50 and older, into three groups. One practiced tai chi, another worked out with a combination of aerobic and strength training, and the third did not exercise.
The tai chi participants followed the common form of slow continuous circular movements known as Yang style. The exercisers did brisk walking and strength-training workouts, such as arm curls and raises, shoulder presses, squats, and heel raises. Both groups did one-hour sessions, three times a week, for 12 weeks.
Afterward, people in both the exercise and tai chi groups had similar reductions in waist size, body weight, and cholesterol levels compared with the control group.
It’s not clear how tai chi helps, but the researchers noted that the gentle, flowing motions are ideal for people who have trouble staying active and may help them stick with regular exercise.
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