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British Journal of Sports Medicine
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 43  |  Issue: 11  |  Page No.: 840 - 844

Preliminary study of the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong medical exercise on indicators of metabolic syndrome and glycaemic control in adults with raised blood glucose levels

X Liu    

Abstract: Objectives:

To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effects of a Tai Chi and Qigong medical exercise programme that aimed to improve indicators of metabolic syndrome and glycaemic control in adults with raised blood glucose levels.

Design, setting, and participants:

A single-group pre-post trial of 11 participants (3 men and 8 women; age 42–65 years) with raised blood glucose levels conducted from August to November 2005 at a university in Australia.


Participants attended Tai Chi and Qigong exercise training for 1–1.5 h 3 times per week for 12 weeks and were encouraged to practise the exercises at home.

Main outcome measures:

Indicators of metabolic syndrome (body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol) and glucose control (HbA1c, fasting insulin and insulin resistance).


There was good adherence and high acceptability for the group-based programme. Significant improvements were seen in four of the seven indicators of metabolic syndrome including body mass index (mean difference –1.05 (95% CI –1.48 to –0.63), p<0.001), waist circumference (–2.80 cm (95% CI –4.97 to –0.62), p<0.05) and both systolic (–11.64 mm Hg (95% CI –19.46 to –3.51), p<0.01) and diastolic blood pressure (–9.73 mm Hg (95% CI –13.58 to –5.88), p<0.001). There were also small improvements in HbA1c (–0.32% (95% CI –0.49% to –0.15%), p<0.01), fasting insulin (–9.93 pmol/l (95% CI –19.93 to 0.07), p = 0.051) and insulin resistance (–0.53 (95% CI –0.97 to –0.09), p<0.05).


The programme was shown to be feasible and acceptable and the findings suggest that it may be helpful for the control of indicators of metabolic syndrome and glycaemic control. Larger controlled studies are needed to confirm these promising results.

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