A review of research from the University of British Columbia tested the effects of tai chi exercise upon people with four chronic diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, osteoarthritis and cancer. Dr. Yi-Wen Chen and his team analyzed 33 studies of more than 1,500 people who participated in tai chi.
The research also tested the effects of the practice on general health, including walking speed, muscle strength, speed in standing up from a sitting position, quality of life, symptoms of depression and knee strength. The heart disease patients among the subjects showed a reduction in depression symptoms, and all shared a reduction of muscle stiffness and pain, increased speeds in both walking and standing from a sitting position and improved well-being.
“Given the fact that many middle-aged and older persons have more than one chronic condition, it’s important to examine the benefits of treatment/exercise interventions across several co-existing conditions,” says Chen.