Moderate Exercise. At least thirty minutes a day.
Think sweat, effort and heavy breathing.
That’s what it takes to make a difference, right?
I thought so.
It turns out, I might have been wrong.
At a recent conference at the Gold Coast, I nearly fell off my chair when Dr Liu Xin presented the results from a study named the SMILE Tai Chi program. The program involved a mixture of both Tai Chi and Qigong and was designed to target diabetes and obesity.
The results were amazing!
When East meets West magic happens
Participants in the study who either had diabetes or pre-diabetes experienced
- drops in blood pressure of between 9 and 12%
- a decrease in waist circumference of 3%
- improved blood sugar levels
- a reduction in levels of depression.
Other benefits reported by study participants included improvements in sleep, energy levels and fewer food cravings.
When I chatted to Dr Liu, he said that the Tai Chi program had been specially modified to produce the results seen in the study.
My western mind was working overtime trying to explain the results. Tai Chi and Qigong are a relaxing, almost meditative form of exercise. This would reduce the low grade chronic stress so many people experience and there would be a corresponding reduction in both cortisol production in the body and blood sugar levels.
However, not everything can be explained from a western, medical viewpoint and I can’t wait to see the results of further studies as they come to hand.
An internet search also revealed the surprising fact that Tai Chi burns more calories per hour than brisk walking.
Dr Paul Lam, a Tai Chi expert from Sydney has also created a Tai Chi for Diabetes program and has instructional DVDs for sale. Enjoy this short 3 minute video where he talks about the benefits of Tai Chi and the results experienced by one gorgeous lady.
I’d love to know your thoughts about these findings in the comments. Have you tried Tai Chi and what did you think?