A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial to Examine the Effects of Tai Chi and Walking Exercises on Weight Loss, Metabolic Syndrome Parameters, and Bone Mineral Density

Yaojie Xie, Stanley Sai Chuen Hui, Timothy Chi Yui Kwok, Jean Woo

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Introduction: Tai Chi and walking are both moderate-intensity physical activity (PA) that can be easily practiced in daily life. The purpose of this study was to better understand that after practicing these two types of PAs in a relative short term and keeping the stable dietary intake in this period, how much body weight would be reduced and what extent the metabolic syndrome parameters would be improved; and if a significant weight loss was observed, whether this exercise-induced weight loss had adverse effect on bone mineral density (BMD). Methods: Three-hundred seventy-four healthy and physically inactive adults (45.8±5.3 years) from 9 geographic areas in Hong Kong were randomized to 12 weeks training (45 minutes per day, 5 days per week) of Tai Chi (n=124) or self-paced walking (n=121), or control group (n=129) at area level. Body weight, fat and lean mass, waist circumference, blood pressure and regional BMD, as well as the fasting blood samples were obtained at the beginning and end of trial. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides were analyzed. Results: On average, Tai Chi and walking groups lost 0.50 and 0.76 kg of body weight, 0.47 and 0.59 kg of fat mass, respectively (all p<0.001). No significant changes were observed for lean mass and BMD. Two intervention groups had significant improvements in waist circumference and FBG. The between-group difference of waist circumference and FBG was -3.7 cm and -0.18 mmol/L for Tai Chi vs. control; and -4.1 cm and -0.22 mmol/L for walking vs. control (all p<0.001). No significant differences were observed regarding blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C and triglycerides compared to control (all p>0.05). The effects on all outcomes between Tai Chi and walking were similar (all p>0.05). Among intervention groups, change in lean mass, not fat mass or total weight loss, was significantly correlated to the change in BMD. Conclusions: 12-week Tai Chi and walking exercises can produce moderate weight loss and improve the waist circumference and FBG in middle-aged Hong Kong Chinese people, with no additional effects on BMD.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCirculation
Place of PublicationUSA
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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