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Tai Chi May Slow Aging

Tai Chi May Slow AgingA new study suggests the traditional Chinese martial art and sport called tai chi may replenish stem cells.

In a group of young people, investigators compared tai chi with brisk walking or no exercise and found that the group performing tai chi saw an increase in a type of stem cell important to a number of the body’s functions and structures.

The yearlong retrospective cross-sectional study was designed to compare the rejuvenating and anti-aging effects of tai chi.

“We used young volunteers because they have better cell-renewing abilities than the old population and we also wanted to avoid having chronic diseases and medications as interfering factors,” said Shinn-Zong Lin, M.D., Ph.D.

The study was published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

According to the authors, tai chi “has been confirmed to benefit” patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia. In addition, they cite possible advantages of tai chi in pain reduction, fall prevention and balance improvement, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, quality of life and stress reduction.

“Compared with the no exercise group, the tai chi group had a significantly higher number of CD 34+ stem cells,” wrote the authors. “We found that the CD34+ cell count of the tai chi group was significantly higher than the brisk walking group.”

The CD 34+ cells express the CD 34 protein and are “cluster markers” for blood stem cells involved in cell self-renewal, differentiation and proliferation.

“It is possible that tai chi may prompt vasodilation and increase blood flow,” said Lin.

“Considering that brisk walking may require a larger space or more equipment, tai chi seems to be an easier and more convenient choice of anti-aging exercise.”

“This study provides the first step into providing scientific evidence for the possible health benefits of tai chi,” said Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., distinguished professor at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla.

“Further study of how tai chi can elicit benefit in different populations and on different parameters of aging are necessary to determine its full impact.”

Source: Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair
Man doing tai chi photo by shutterstock.

Tai Chi May Slow Aging

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Tai Chi May Slow Aging. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/05/29/tai-chi-may-slow-aging/70508.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.