Aims: Tai Chi is a promising exercise option in cardiac rehabilitation to manage coronary heart disease. Increasing attention was paid on home-based cardiac rehabilitation to improve participation rate, but no study has yet emphasized the effect of home-based Tai Chi. A single-blinded randomized controlled trial is used to examine the effects of a group- plus home-based Tai Chi program on functional health.
Methods and results: Ninety-eight community-dwelling patients with coronary heart disease were randomly assigned to the Tai Chi and control groups. Participants in the Tai Chi group attended 6-week group- plus 6-week home-based Tai Chi program. Outcome measures included physical functions, cardiovascular risk factors, and exercise self-efficacy. Data were collected at baseline, 6-week, 12-week, and 24-week. Intervention effects were analysed using the generalized estimating equation model. Compared with changes in the control group, the intervention group achieved significant improvements in aerobic endurance, lower-body strength, agility and dynamic balance, diastolic blood pressure, and exercise self-efficacy over the 24-week study period (all Ps < 0.05). Intervention adherence was high (79.6% of participants attending >75% of all Tai Chi sessions).
Conclusions: This Tai Chi program significantly improved the functional health of patients with coronary heart disease, indicating that Tai Chi could be taught in group sessions and then continued independently as a home exercise routine for health promotion.