Introduction: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs reduce overall and cardiovascular mortality in patients with a history of acute coronary events or revascularization procedures, but only 30% of patients enroll in CR and attrition rates reach up to 60%. Tai chi, a mind-body practice based on light/moderate aerobic exercise accompanied by meditative components could be a possible exercise option for patients who do not attend CR.
Methods/design: Sixty patients will be randomized to a "LITE" condition (one tai chi session twice weekly for 12 weeks) or to a "PLUS" condition (one tai chi session 3 times weekly for 12 weeks, followed by maintenance classes 1-2 times weekly for an additional 12 weeks). Measurements will be conducted at baseline, 3-, 6-, and 9 months after enrollment. The primary outcome is to determine the feasibility, acceptability and safety of each dose. Secondary outcomes include estimates of effect size of each dose on accelerometry-assessed physical activity; the proportion of patients meeting current recommendations for physical activity; and measures of fitness, quality of life, body weight, and sleep. In addition, we will collect exploratory information on possible mediators (exercise self-efficacy, perceived social support, resilience, mindfulness, and depression).
Conclusions: Findings from this pilot study will provide preliminary indications about the usefulness of tai chi as an exercise option for patients not attending traditional CR programs. Results will also shed light on the possible mechanisms by which tai chi practice may improve overall physical activity among patients with atherosclerotic coronary heart disease.
Keywords: Cardiovascular prevention; Fitness; Mindfulness; Physical activity; Tai chi.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.