Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art and system of calisthenics is now being compared to conventional exercise. In a recent study from the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Chinese Academy of Sciences; and UCLA it shows that Tai Chi can duplicate the benefits of exercise. It can reduce the waist circumference in middle to older adults (over 50 years of age) that have obesity in the central region of the body.
Tai Chi consists of very slow controlled movements in sequences. This technique is used to enhance physical and mental health and can also improve balance, posture, strength and flexibility.
People that have obesity in the central region of the body have an acute manifestation of what is known as a metabolic syndrome. This includes cardiometabolic risk factors which can be central obesity, hyperglycemia, high blood pressure, dysipidemia, a low level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol that all can increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.
In this study, there were 534 people, aged 50 or older that participated. They were assigned randomly to one of 3 equally sized groups. These control groups consisted of no exercise, conventional exercise which included aerobic and strength training, and a group that performed tai chi. The study lasted 12 weeks.
At the end of the study, the outcome was that waist circumference had reduced in all groups. Other findings were body mass index; body weight; triglyceride; high density cholesterol and fasting plasma glucose levels.
This study suggest that tai chi can be an effective way to reduce central obesity. Incorporating tai chi into all kinds of physical activity for middle to older adults can be an important approach for central obesity management.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Effects of Tai Chi or Conventional Exercise on Central Obesity in Middle-Aged and Older Adults