Tai Chi Shown to Improve COPD Exercise Capacity
August 28, 2012 -
Tai Chi can be used as an effective form of exercise therapy for people with
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to new findings. The
research, which was published online in August 2012 ahead of print in the
European Respiratory Journal, suggests that this form of exercise can improve
exercise capacity and quality of life in people with COPD and may be as
beneficial as pulmonary rehabilitation.
It is well known
that moderate forms of exercise can help COPD patients to improve their exercise
tolerance, symptoms of breathlessness and their overall quality of life. This
new study aimed to investigate whether Sun-style Tai chi could be used as an
effective form of exercise therapy.
This form of Tai Chi
(Sun-style) has been shown to help people with chronic conditions such as
arthritis and involves less difficult movements enabling people of all ages to
perform this martial art. Researchers from the Concord Repatriation General
Hospital and the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, worked with 42 people
with COPD. Half the group attended Tai Chi lessons twice a week, as well as
performing Tai Chi at home, whereas the other half followed their usual medical
management which did not include exercise.
the exercise capacity of all participants via a walking test and also asked all
participants to complete the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire, which
gives an indication of how the disease affects their quality of life. The
exercise intensity of Tai Chi was measured in those participants who completed
the Tai Chi training to assess whether it met the training requirements
suggested for COPD patients.
Compared to the
group completing the usual medical management, participants completing the Tai
Chi exercise training could walk significantly longer in the walking test. They
also had an increased score on the questionnaire, indicating a better quality of
life. The results also showed that the intensity of the Tai Chi was moderate,
which met the recommendations for exercise training for people with COPD.
Lead author, Regina
Wai Man Leung from the Concord Repatriation General Hospital, said: "With
increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with COPD, it is important to
provide different options for exercise that can be tailored to suit each
individual. The results from this small sample provide compelling evidence that
Tai Chi is an effective training program for patients with COPD, and could be
considered as an alternative to the usual exercise training programs that are
available in pulmonary rehabilitation." .