Does Tai Chi work better than cardio at lowering blood pressure levels?

Web Desk
A man demonstrates tai chi exercise in a park. — Unsplash
A man demonstrates tai chi exercise in a park. — Unsplash

More than 30% of the adult population worldwide, which is equal to over 1 billion people, experience higher blood pressure which is often the result of hypertension.

Doctors and experts have sounded alarms for years over the significant dangers of this condition, advising patients to adopt a balanced diet, a less-tense environment and exercise to maintain their blood pressure levels to avoid any unfortunate situation.

One of the recommended exercises is "Tai Chi", an ancient Chinese martial art turned holistic exercise, which offers more than graceful movements as it potentially holds the key to managing blood pressure.

Studies suggest that regular practice of tai chi can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as this gentle yet powerful practice enhances circulation, reduces stress, and improves cardiovascular function, all of which contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Additionally, according to a new study published in Jama Network Open, practising tai chi may improve blood pressure even better than aerobic exercise.

People perform tai chi in a park. — Harvard Health
People perform tai chi in a park. — Harvard Health

Researchers had 342 adults with prehypertension do either aerobic exercise or tai chi for an hour, four times a week for 12 months.

The tai chi group had bigger reductions in blood pressure, and almost 22% of them reached a normal blood pressure range, compared with nearly 16% in the aerobic exercise group.

Also, fewer people in the tai chi group developed hypertension compared with the aerobic exercise group.

The meditative aspect of this ancient exercise promotes relaxation and mental clarity, further aiding in stress reduction.

Embracing tai chi as part of a holistic approach to health may not only enhance physical fitness but also serve as a natural strategy for blood pressure management.