Findings (subscription required) recently published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggest that Tai Chi may be an optimal form of exercise for the elderly because the Chinese martial art focuses on strength training without taxing the heart. The Atlantic reports:
[The study compared] the health of two similar groups of people in their 70s, one who had been regularly practicing Tai Chi and one who hadn't. The Tai Chi group showed greater flexibility in both large and small arteries (by over 40 percent), as well as greater muscle strength in their knee extensors and flexors. They also had lower blood pressure.
This doesn't show that Tai Chi was the cause of these benefits, but it does hint that Tai Chi can both strengthen muscles and improve arterial flexibility.
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