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The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi may help people suffering from type 2 diabetes improve their physical and mental well being, Australian researchers said.
The traditional martial art of Tai Chi combines deep breathing and gentle movements. With a series of gentle exercises, Tai Chi may benefit people with type 2 diabetes, the researchers were quoted in ABC report.
The researchers compared blood sugar levels, blood pressure and other health measures for 25 patients who attended formal Tai Chi classes over a six-month period to those of a control group who did no formal exercise.
The study, which was published this month in Australian Family Physician, used standardised quality of life tests and reported that the group attending Tai Chi classes scored a significant improvement in their social and physical functioning. They also had a lowered cholesterol levels compared to the control group.
However, the researchers from New South Wales University admitted the intensity and duration of the gentle Tai Chi exercise programme was not sufficient to make a big difference to blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
But this traditional Chinese exercise has higher levels of adherence than other types of exercises. At it is non-competitive and levels are increased slowly, the art is suitable for sedentary, overweight or disabled people, making it a good choice for those daunted by more strenuous programs, the researchers said.