Background: Physical activity is associated with a better longevity and reduced morbidity. In addition, exercise has a mood-elevating effect, which improves self-esteem. Tai-Chi is a traditional Chinese aerobic exercise. We aimed to assess the short-term effects of Tai-Chi on the clinical parameters and health-related quality of life (QOL) in Hong Kong Chinese.
Material/methods: Twenty Chinese healthy female subjects were recruited. There were 2 Tai-Chi sessions per week for 10 weeks. Each session lasted for one hour. Health-related QOL was assessed with SF-36 questionnaire.
Results: Of the 20 subjects, their mean age was 40.8 +/- 5.9 years (median 42.5 years, range 30-50 years). At the end of the study, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels significantly reduced (114 +/- 9 to 108 +/- 9 mmHg, p = 0.012; 4.7 +/- 0.8 to 4.4 +/- 0.5 mmol/L, p = 0.020 and 2.7 +/- 0.6 to 2.2 +/- 0.5 mmol/L, p = 0.001, respectively). Among all SF-36 items, Vitality and Mental Health significantly improved after the 10-week Tai-Chi program (64.9 +/- 8.1 to 68.4 +/- 6.6, p = 0.038 and 64.4 +/- 6.9 to 69.1 +/- 1.4, p = 0.003, respectively).
Conclusions: A 10-week Tai-Chi exercise program improved systolic blood pressure, lipid profiles and some of the parameters of health-related QOL in Hong Kong Chinese women. Tai-Chi is likely to be a useful choice of physical activity. We need a larger study that covers a wider range of populations to confirm our results.