Background: Aerobic exercise can alleviate the declines in arterial compliance common in older adults. However, when combined with strength training, aerobic exercise may not reduce arterial compliance. Tai Chi practice has been found to improve muscle strength and cardiopulmonary function in older subjects, but whether or not it improves arterial compliance is not known. The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether Tai Chi practitioners have better arterial compliance and muscle strength. Design: Twenty-nine older Tai Chi practitioners (73.7 ± 4.5 years) and 36 healthy control subjects (71.4 ± 6.6 years) participated in this cross-sectional study. Methods: The participants were independent in their daily living activities. They were screened for apparent cardiovascular disease and underwent arterial compliance testing and isokinetic knee muscle strength testing at 30°/s. Results: Tai Chi practitioners showed significantly better haemodynamic parameters than the controls as indexed by larger and small artery compliance. They also demonstrated greater eccentric muscle strength in both knee extensors and flexors. Conclusion: The findings of better muscle strength without jeopardizing arterial compliance suggests that Tai Chi could be a suitable exercise for older persons to improve both cardiovascular function and muscle strength.
- arterial compliance
- muscle strength
- Tai Chi
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine