Researchers from the University of Connecticut presented their findings on the blood pressure-lowering effects of tai chi at the American College of Sports Medicine 2016 Annual Meeting. Their meta-analysis of 28 studies on tai chi practiced by adults with a median age of 62 years, showed that tai chi can lower blood pressure as effectively as drugs or aerobic exercise. This may be good news to elderly patients who are more adapted to low intensity exercise. On average, subjects practiced tai chi for 61 minutes twice a week for 20.6 weeks. Systolic pressure was lowered 6 mm Hg and diastolic was lowered 3mm Hg. The researchers noted that with greater frequency of tai chi practice, the blood pressure was lowered even more.
If you treat elderly patients who are open to adding low-intensity exercise to their daily routine, tai chi may be an appropriate recommendation, especially if they have high blood pressure.