Acute effects of Tai Chi exercise on cardiac autonomic function in healthy adults with Tai Chi experience

Pratik Kalsaria, Hongtao Li, Gabi Waite, Margaret Moga, J. Derek Kingsley, Roy W. Geib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: About 1 in 3 American adults have cardiovascular disease associated with risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and stress. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is considered a non-invasive procedure for analyzing cardiovascular autonomic influence. Depressed HRV has been linked to abnormal cardiovascular autonomic modulation. Purpose: This study evaluated the effect of Tai Chi (TC) on cardiac autonomic modulation in healthy adults with experience in TC practice. Design: 10 healthy adults, 7 females and 3 males, with an average age of 53.09 ± 7 yr were included in this study. They were asked not to consume any alcoholic or caffeinated beverages at least 24 hours before the study. Each subject practiced TC for 1 hour. HRV measurements were obtained at supine rest using Nexus biofeedback device before and after 10 min, 20 min and 30 min post TC exercise. Results: The cardiac autonomic function was assessed using frequency domain HRV analyses. Using repeated measures ANOVA and paired t-test, we found that the normalized high frequency power increased significantly from 43.02 ± 12.40% to 52.70 ± 13.20% after 30 min post TC exercise (p<0.05). In contrast, normalized low frequency power decreased significantly from 56.97 ± 12.40% to 47.29 ± 13.20% after 30 min post TC exercise (p<0.05). Conclusion: TC exercise can modulate cardiac autonomic tone by enhancing the parasympathetic activity and reducing the sympathetic activity. Long-term beneficial effects of TC on cardiac autonomic function needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Cardiac autonomic function
  • Heart rate variability
  • High frequency power
  • Low frequency power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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