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A recent small study of older adults who practice tai chi indicates there may be a link between performing tai chi and improvement in both vascular health and muscle strength.
Participants were in their 60s and 70s and had practiced tai chi for at least three years. Evaluation of knee strength and measurements to determine arterial elasticity were done on the tai chi participants and on a similar group who walked, took leisure hikes or did household work. Results showed that those doing tai chi had greater arterial elasticity and better knee muscle strength than did those in the other group.
Tai chi incorporates many stretching movements along with prolonged periods where body weight is supported from a semi squatting stance. Based on these initial findings, study investigators say tai chi may offer older adults a training option that promotes both muscle strength and vascular health.