Washington: The ancient Chinese exercise of tai chi can perk up mood and prospects of patients with chronic heart failure, a study conducted in US suggests.

"Preliminary evidence suggests that meditative exercise may have benefits for patients with chronic systolic (when the heart contracts) heart failure; this has not been rigorously tested in a large clinical sample," wrote the study authors.

Gloria Y. Yeh of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues evaluated 100 outpatients with systolic heart failure who were recruited between May 1, 2005 and Sep 30, 2008.

Fifty patients were randomly put in a 12-week tai chi-based exercise intervention group, and the other 50 were put in a time-matched education group, the journal Archives of Internal Medicine reports.

The tai chi intervention group consisted of one-hour group classes held twice-a-week for 12 weeks. The education sessions were also held twice-a-week for the same duration as the tai chi lessons, and were led by a nurse practitioner, according to a Harvard statement.

The two groups were generally similar in demographics, clinical classification of heart disease severity, and rates of comorbidities.
At the completion of the study, there were no significant differences in change in six-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake when comparing the tai chi and control groups, however, patients in the tai chi group had greater improvements in quality of life.

The tai chi group also showed improvements in exercise self-efficacy -- confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities with increased daily activity, and related feelings of well-being compared with the education group.

(Agencies)