Research on Tai Chi and Other Exercises for Children and Adolescents
December 28, 2011 -
Researchers from University of Miami
Medical School and Fielding Graduate University performed a review of studies
published during the last several years on exercise effects on overweight,
growth, chronic illnesses, depression and anxiety in children and adolescents.
Although the lion's share of the research involves aerobic exercise, studies on
yoga and Tai Chi are also reviewed.
Following exercise, body mass index and lipid profiles have
improved in overweight children, and those with asthma, diabetes and depression
have also benefited from exercise. The yoga studies reviewed here focused on
ADHD and anxiety, and the Tai
Chi studies involved children with ADHD and asthma. A potential
underlying mechanism for the positive effects of exercise, yoga and
Tai Chi may be the stimulation of pressure
receptors leading to increased vagal activity, decreased stress hormones and
increased production of anti-pain and antidepressant neurotransmitters such as
serotonin. Further studies are needed using convergent behavioral, physiological
and biochemical measures.
Nonetheless, the current literature highlights the importance of
adding exercise programs to clinics, schools and families for the physical and
psychological well-being of children and adolescents.
This study will appear in the Feb 2012 issue of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.