Tai Chi as an Adjunct Physical Activity for Older Adults in Cardiac Rehabilitation
Dec 27, 2010
Cardiac rehabilitation improves physical, cognitive and psychosocial
functioning, yet services are greatly underutilized with increasing patterns of
attrition over time. Tai Chi has been suggested as a possible adjunct to cardiac
rehabilitation exercise training.
Three faculty members of College of Nursing, University of Arizona performed a
study to describe differences in physical, cognitive and psychosocial
functioning among older adults attending phase III cardiac rehabilitation, who
have or have not self-selected Tai Chi exercise as an adjunct physical activity.
In their study, the researchers
compared participants attending group-based Wu style Tai Chi classes plus
cardiac rehabilitation with those using cardiac rehabilitation only. All the
participants had a battery of physical and cognitive functioning tests
administered to examine aerobic endurance, balance, strength, and flexibility,
verbal retrieval/recall, attention, concentration and tracking. Subjects
completed a health survey to ascertain cardiac event information, medical
history, and psychosocial functioning (i.e. health-related quality of life,
stress, depressive symptoms, social support, and Tai Chi self-efficacy).
A total of 51 people (75% married, 84% college-educated, 96%
White/European-American) participated. Their ages ranged from 62 to 78. They had
attended cardiac rehabilitation for 12 to 82 months. Twenty-three of the
participants attended Tai Chi classes plus cardiac rehabilitation, while 28 of
them attended cardiac rehabilitation only.
At the end of the study, participants attending Tai Chi plus cardiac
rehabilitation had better balance, perceived physical health, and Tai Chi
self-efficacy compared to those attending cardiac rehabilitation only.
The researchers suggested that Tai Chi can be easily implemented in any
community/cardiac rehabilitation facility, and may offer adults additional
options after a cardiac event.
This study is published in the Nov 2010 issue of
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.