Hypertension is a major health concern throughout the United States and is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this study was to compare the responses of Tai Chi and walking on measures of central and peripheral cardiac mechanisms when controlling for exercise intensity. Fifteen hypertensive subjects (2 males, 13 females; age = 20.7 ± 3.77 years; body fat = 24.26 ± 10.27%) participated in Tai Chi (TC) and walking (WK) for 30 minutes on non-consecutive days. Central systolic (CSBP) and diastolic blood pressure (CDBP), augmentation index (Alx), pulse pressure (PP), heart rate (HR), and brachial systolic (BSBP) and diastolic blood pressure (BDBP) were measured prior to exercise and following exercise every 10 minutes for a total of 60 minutes in a seated position. There were no significant differences between the two exercise forms. CSBP decreased 10 minutes after exercise in both exercise types (TC = 6.63 ± 3.258 mmHG; WK = 7 ± 4.144 mmHG p < 0.05), and 40 minutes after exercise in both exercise types (TC = 6.07 ± 3.33 mmHG; WK = 8.2 ± 3.15 mmHG, p < 0.05) compared to the initial measurement. BSBP also decreased in both exercise forms following 10 min of rest (TC = 6.99 ± 3.776 mmHG; WK = 8.8 ± 3.20 mmHG p = 0.05), and 40 min (TC = 8.46 ± 3.07 mmHG; WK = 8.87 ± 3.87 mmHG, p < 0.05) when compared to the initial resting measurement. Central aortic pressure exhibits a post exercise hypotensive (PEH) effect similar to that of peripheral blood pressure. Both Tai Chi and walking elicited similar PEH effects on systolic blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
Keywords: Exercise; acute; hemodynamics.