(BOSTON) -- Researchers at Harvard say tai chi appears to improve quality of life in patients with heart failure.
"Historically, patients with chronic systolic heart failure were considered too frail to exercise and, through the late 1980s, avoidances of physical activity was a standard recommendation," the researchers write in the study, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art often practiced for defense training and health benefits. The exercise requires focus paired with slow, gentle movements and is commonly referred to as "meditation in motion."
The researchers looked at 100 outpatients with reduced heart function. Half had completed a 12-week fitness program based on tai chi, while the other half attended time-matched education sessions.
They found that the patients who had participated in the tai chi program experienced improvements in their quality of life and increased levels of daily physical activity.
Authors in the study conclude that the gentle, fluid movements of tai chi are "safe and has good rates of adherence" for heart failure patients.
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