Practicing Tai Chi had lower energy metabolism than walking but similar health benefits in terms of aerobic fitness, resting energy expenditure, body composition and self-perceived physical health

Stanley Sai chuen Hui, Yaojie Xie, Jean Woo, Timothy Chi yui Kwok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016. Objective: To examine the effects of Tai Chi and walking training on aerobic fitness, resting energy expenditure (REE), body composition, and quality of life; as well as analyzing the energy metabolism during exercises, to determine which one had better advantage in improving health status. Methods: Three hundred seventy-four middle-aged Chinese subjects who were recruited from nine geographic areas in Sha Tin were randomized into Tai Chi, walking, or control groups at area level. The 12-week (45 min per day, 5 days per week) Tai Chi or brisk walking training were conducted in respective intervention groups. Measures were performed at baseline and end of trial. Another 30 subjects were recruited to compare the energy metabolism between practicing Tai Chi and walking. Results: The between-group difference of VO2max was 3.3 ml/min/kg for Tai Chi vs. control and 3.7 ml/min/kg for walking vs. control (both P < 0.001). BMI, skinfold thicknesses, and SF-12 physical component scores all improved significantly compared with the control group (all P < 0.01). Tai Chi had higher effect on improving REE-VO2and REE-kilocalorie expenditure than walking. Regarding to energy metabolism test, the self-paced walking produced approximately 46% higher metabolic costs than Tai Chi. Conclusion: Practicing Tai Chi consumes a smaller amount of energy metabolism but similar health benefits as self-paced brisk walking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Body composition
  • Clinical trial
  • Mind-body exercise
  • Physical activity
  • SF-12
  • VO max 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing

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