ExerciseHeart DiseaseTai Chi

Effect of tai chi vs a brisk walk on heart rate variability

A study reported during the American Academy of Family Physicians 2007 Annual Scientific Assembly concluded, “tai chi is comparable to but not quite as effective as a brisk walk for raising heart rate variability.”

First, the details as reported on Medscape

  • 24 adults either walked on a treadmill or performed 6-posture tai chi for 20 minutes with 5 minutes of rest.
  • After a week, they changed to the other exercise.
  • Heart rate variability (beat-to-beat alterations in heart rate) was recorded during both exercises.

And, the results.

  • Heart rate didn’t differ significantly between the groups

The bottom line?
After viewing the poster, Dr. Ellyn Stecker, a family medicine physician from South Bend, Indiana, concluded, “If you walk at 6 km an hour, which is a little less than 3 miles, you’ll get a similar heart rate and blood pressure change. So, for people who can’t walk because they have arthritis or whatever, they might be able to do [tai chi] and still achieve the same cardiovascular benefits.”

If you’re interested, more information about heart rate variability is here.

10/12/07 19:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.