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British Journal of Sports Medicine

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 44  |  Issue: 10  |  Page No.: 704 - 709

A preliminary study of the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong medical exercise on indicators of metabolic syndrome, glycaemic control, health-related quality of life, and psychological health in adults with elevated blood glucose

X Liu, Y. D Miller, N. W Burton and W. J. Brown



To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effects of a Tai Chi and Qigong exercise programme in adults with elevated blood glucose.

Design, Setting, and Participants

A single group pre–post feasibility trial with 11 participants (3 male and 8 female; aged 42–65 years) with elevated blood glucose.


Participants attended Tai Chi and Qigong exercise training for 1 to 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 (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol); glucose control (HbA1c, fasting insulin and insulin resistance (HOMA)); health-related quality of life; stress and depressive symptoms.


There was good adherence and high acceptability. There were significant improvements in four of the seven indicators of metabolic syndrome including BMI (mean difference –1.05, p<0.001), waist circumference (–2.80 cm, p<0.05), and systolic (–11.64 mm Hg, p<0.01) and diastolic blood pressure (–9.73 mm Hg, p<0.001), as well as in HbA1c (–0.32%, p<0.01), insulin resistance (–0.53, p<0.05), stress (–2.27, p<0.05), depressive symptoms (–3.60, p<0.05), and the SF-36 mental health summary score (5.13, p<0.05) and subscales for general health (19.00, p<0.01), mental health (10.55, p<0.01) and vitality (23.18, p<0.05).


The programme was feasible and acceptable and participants showed improvements in metabolic and psychological variables. A larger controlled trial is now needed to confirm these promising preliminary results.

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