Tai Chi training for patients with coronary heart disease

Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:182-194. doi: 10.1159/000134299.


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the developed countries and many developing countries. Exercise training is the cornerstone of cardiac rehabilitation program for patients with CHD, and exercise intensities in the 50-70% heart rate reserve have been shown to improve functional capacity. However, recent studies found exercise with lower intensity also displayed benefits to CHD patients, and increased the acceptance of exercise program, particularly unfit and elderly patients. Tai Chi Chuan (TC) is a traditional conditioning exercise in the Chinese community, and recently it has become more popular in the Western societies. The exercise intensity of TC is low to moderate, depending on the training style, posture and duration. Participants can choose to perform a complete set of TC or selected movements according to their needs. Previous research substantiates that TC enhances aerobic capacity, muscular strength, endothelial function and psychological wellbeing. In addition, TC reduces some cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and dyslipidemia. Recent studies have also proved that TC is safe and effective for patients with myocardial infarction, coronary bypass surgery and heart failure. Therefore, TC may be prescribed as an alternative exercise program for selected patients with cardiovascular diseases. In conclusion, TC has potential benefits for patients with CHD, and is appropriate for implementation in the community.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Disease / therapy*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Lipids / blood
  • Mental Health
  • Microcirculation
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Tai Ji*


  • Lipids
  • Nitric Oxide