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 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. NEXT ON HEALTH24X Need motivation? Joel Stransky stood on the podium at the Cape Epic, a year after being in ICU 2018-04-12 10:30 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 News SAHRC overseeing HIV patients' transfer to public health facilities Medical 7 reasons why your sinusitis could be worse in winter Lifestyle How skipping this much sleep makes arguing with your partner more dangerous Fitness Unlock your best performance with these 4 mindset tips Lifestyle SEE: How many people smoke around the world? Diet and nutrition Chef schools compete to produce tasty R15 lunch box From our sponsors Win a R1 500 hamper with Alpecin Hypertension Consumer Fact Sheet Understanding diabetes self-management WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Live healthier Mental health & your work » How open are you about mental illness in the workplace? Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips. Sleep & You » Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia 6 things that are sabotaging your sleep Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.