Tai Chi Benefits Heart Failure Patients

Associated with improvements in mood, quality of life, exercise self-efficacy

TUESDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Tai chi may improve quality of life, exercise self-efficacy, and mood in people with chronic systolic heart failure, according to research published in the April 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gloria Y. Yeh, M.D., M.P.H., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Brookline, Mass., and colleagues randomized 100 patients with systolic heart failure to a 12-week group-based tai chi exercise program or education to evaluate the effect of tai chi -- as an adjunct to standard care -- on functional capacity and quality of life in heart failure patients.

The researchers found no significant differences between the two groups in change in six-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake. Patients in the tai chi group did, however, experience greater improvements in quality of life than patients in the education group. The tai chi group also experienced significant improvements in exercise self-efficacy and mood.

"In conclusion, tai chi exercise, a multicomponent mind-body training modality that is safe and has good rates of adherence, may provide value in improving daily exercise, quality of life, self-efficacy, and mood in frail, deconditioned patients with systolic heart failure. A more restricted focus on traditional measured exercise capacity may underestimate the potential benefits of integrated interventions such as tai chi," the authors write.

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