Introduction: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Tai chi (TC) exercise training in healthy older adults has been demonstrated. However, there are no studies on this effect in older adults with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of TC exercise on oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in older adults with MetS.
Methods: A quasi-experimental study was carried out with a sample of 110 older sedentary volunteers with clinical diagnoses of MetS: (i) a control group, n = 50, of individuals who do not participate in physical exercise, of which 37 fulfilled the entire study protocol, and (ii) an experimental group, n = 60, of subjects enrolled in a TC exercise training program (eight-form easy), 5 days a week for 6 months, in sessions of 50 min, under the supervision of a qualified instructor, of which 48 fulfilled the entire study protocol. We measured in both groups (pre- and post-intervention) the following cardiovascular parameters: resting heart rate (RHR), diastolic and systolic blood pressure (DBP and SBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), RHR-SBP product, RHR-MAP product; glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c); oxidative stress markers (superoxide dismutase, total antioxidant status, thiobarbituric acid reacting substances, and oxidative stress score); and inflammation markers (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10).
Results: A statistically significant decrease in HbA1c concentration was observed in the TC group compared with the control group (p < 0.05). This group also showed a statistically significant increase in TAS and a decrease in the oxidative stress score (p < 0.05). We did not observe changes in the cardiovascular parameters (RHR, DBP, SBP, MAP, RHR-SBP product, and RHR-MAP product) in the TC experimental group compared to the control group.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the practice of TC exercise has an antioxidative and hypoglycemic effect in the elderly with MetS.
Keywords: HbA1c; Tai chi; metabolic syndrome; older subjects; oxidative stress.