Doing 40 minutes of tai chi may be more effective in reducing blood pressure than 40 minutes of cycling or brisk walking. At least these are the results of a Chinese study. We will explain everything to you.

What is Tai Chi?

Usually, health experts recommend endurance sports activities to reduce blood pressure in the arteries. But tai chi would be just as, if not more, effective.

Derived from martial arts, this practice is a bodily discipline that is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Energy gymnastics, the practice consists of carrying out a set of continuous and circular movements, executed very slowly and precisely, according to an established order.

There are several styles of tai chi depending on the school, but most aim to become self-aware through an inner approach. Tai chi is one of the five branches of traditional Chinese medicine, with acupuncture, Chinese dietetics, pharmacopoeia and Tui Na massage.

Long-term calm

Thus, according to this Chinese study, tai chi could help reduce blood pressure. This result was obtained by following nearly 180 volunteers for a year. The latter practiced tai chi four hours a week.

About 170 other volunteers alternated the same duration of endurance sports such as cycling, brisk walking or running. At baseline, all participants were below the official threshold for high blood pressure. After one year, the tension score had fallen by 30% more on the tai chi side. One in five participants had left the red zone.

This result is explained by the drop in heart rate. Tai chi is a real physical exercise, performed gently. Breathing is controlled, slowed down.

The brain then no longer receives any stress signals and no longer asks the heart and body to be in a state of alert. With regular practice, this calm seems to settle between tai chi sessions.

This helps interrupt the vicious cycle created by excessive blood pressure. Good news for people who are put off by running.

Florine Cauchie

Health journalist

June 4, 2024, at 3:06 p.m.

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