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[TAI CHI LIGHTENING] Tai chi cuts belly fat in middle-aged, older adults

Recent research suggests that tai chi is about as effective as conventional exercise for reducing waist circumference in middle-aged and older adults with central obesity, or weight carried around the midsection, which is a major manifestation of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong randomly assigned more than 500 adults over age 50 with central obesity to a 12-week regimen of tai chi, conventional exercise, or no exercise. Participants in the tai chi and exercise groups met for instructor-led workouts for one hour, three times a week. The tai chi program used the Yang style, the most popular tai chi style worldwide, consisting of slow continuous, soft and circular movements in a flowing form. The conventional exercise program consisted of brisk walking and strength training activities.

Waist circumference and other indicators of metabolic health were measured at the beginning of the study, at 12 weeks, and at 38 weeks.

Both the tai chi and conventional exercise groups had reductions in waist circumference, relative to those with no exercise. The reduction had a favorable impact on HDL ("good") cholesterol, but did not result in detectable differences in fasting glucose or blood pressure.

The study authors say their findings are good news for middle-aged and older adults who have central obesity but may be averse to conventional exercise due to preference or limited mobility.

Read the abstract, here.


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