Patients who are diagnosed with congestive heart failure have historically been told to take it nice and easy. That’s because their hearts do not pump blood efficiently. There was a fear that exercise would overtax the weakened heart.
A new study demonstrates that tai chi can help people with heart failure feel better. Patients were randomized to 12 weeks of group instruction in tai chi or to equal time in group education about heart failure, with 50 people in each group. Although there was no change in the objective measure of peak oxygen intake, those in the tai chi classes reported better mood and quality of life. They also got more exercise each day, on average, and felt more self-assured about being able to accomplish their physical activities. There were no detectable negative effects of tai chi training.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, April 25, 2011]