Home > Fitness > News 22 July 2013 Tai chi tied to longer life Chinese men who practiced tai chi were less likely to die over a five-year period than men who didn't exercise at all, according to a new study. 0 iStock Related Tai Chi a stress buster Tai Chi a stress buster Beat stress with Tai Chi (Client) take a Flexibility test » Receive Health tips » Ask Fitness Expert » Join Health24 on Facebook » 10 minute bikini-ready workout Why you need strength to run Chinese men who practiced tai chi were less likely to die over a five-year period than men who didn't exercise at all, in a new study. The findings support past studies that found health benefits related to the traditional Chinese exercise."It combines slow motion exercise and mind concentration to focus on movement. That itself can reduce your stress and, of course, it will increase your flexibility and endurance," said Dr Xianglan Zhang, one of the study's authors from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Zhang said her study could not prove, however, that tai chi was responsible for some men's longer lifespan. Earlier research has shown tai chi can be beneficial for people with chronic conditions, for example by improving balance among those with Parkinson's disease. To see whether tai chi and other forms of exercise might influence lifespan, Zhang and her colleagues looked to a large study of middle aged and elderly men in Shanghai. More than 61 000 men participated in the study. Researchers tracked their health and lifestyle for more than five years.Results Close to 22 000 participants reported that they exercised at least once a week, and the rest were considered non-exercisers. Over the course of the study, 2 421 men died, including 3.3% of the non-exercisers and 5.1% of the men who exercised. Exercisers tended to be older and more of them had heart disease and diabetes. After Zhang's group took into account men's age, health conditions and whether they smoked, exercise was tied to a 20% lower likelihood of dying. Similarly, 6.2% of the close to 10 000 men who practiced tai chi died during the study, but after accounting for other risk factors, the researchers found they were 20% less likely to die than men who didn't exercise. Men who walked regularly were 23% less likely to die during the study, and men who jogged were 27% less likely to die, Zhang's team reports in the American Journal of Epidemiology.Dr Chenchen Wang, director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said that because Zhang's study was observational, and did not randomly assign people to practice tai chi or not, it's impossible to say whether the exercise itself is responsible for the findings. There's always the possibility, for instance, that people who choose tai chi tend to have healthier lifestyles. But Wang, who wasn't involved in the new study, told Reuters Health the results are interesting, and they provide a very important foundation for future research".Zhang said the findings support tai chi as a healthy activity."I think for the elderly people, especially to maintain flexibility and balance, this is a good option for people to consider," Zhang told Reuters Health. More in Fitness Helmets don't always prevent motocross injuries in kids More: FitnessNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Lifestyle Legal marijuana unlikely to tempt more kids Fitness Boosting muscle strength may improve memory Lifestyle Women catching up fast with male alcohol use Parenting Epidural better than 'laughing gas' for labour pain Parenting Infants should share parents' room to help prevent SIDS Lifestyle Blood for transfusion doesn't have to be fresh From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.