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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 270-275

The autonomic and rate pressure product responses of Tai Chi practitioners

1 Department of Kinesiology, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, USA
2 Alfaisal University, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Michael A Figueroa
Department of Kinesiology, William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Road, Wayne, NJ 07470
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Source of Support: This work was supported by a grant from the VIDDA foundation, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.97208

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Background: Spectral analysis of autonomic nervous system activity can provide insight into cardiovascular function. Rate pressure product is the parameter often targeted pharmacologically to decrease the incidence of myocardial events. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not Tai Chi Chuan practitioners would demonstrate autonomic responses that would be more cardioprotective when compared to non-trained controls. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study that measured the autonomic responses and rate pressure product of 2 groups of subjects; a Tai Chi Chuan trained (n = 13) and non-trained sedentary controls (n = 13) at rest and during 2 stressor phases that simulated functional activities of daily living. Results: The Tai Chi group maintained a greater parasympathetic outflow at rest and during the isometric grip stressor phase (P<0.05). Sympathetic outflow, systolic blood pressure and rate pressure product were significantly lower in the Tai Chi group at rest, during the isometric grip and standing stressor phases (P<0.05). Conclusion: Although a cause-and-effect relationship cannot be concluded in this study, the Tai Chi group was able to demonstrate efficiency of the myocardium with suppressed rate pressure product values and autonomic responses that favored parasympathetic outflow. This type of training may complement non-pharmacological anti-hypertensive therapy.

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