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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
  1. X Liu,
  2. Y D Miller,
  3. N W Burton,
  4. W J Brown
  1. University of Queensland, St Lucia Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Wendy J Brown, School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Level 5, Building 26, St Lucia Queensland, 4072 Australia; wbrown{at}


Objectives 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.

Intervention 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.

Results 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).

Conclusions 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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  • Funding This research project was funded by a grant from the Diabetes Australia Research Trust. Dr Liu was the recipient of a University of Queensland scholarship. Dr Miller and Dr Burton were supported by NHMRC capacity building (Owen, Brown, Bauman and Trost; #252977) and programe (Owen, Bauman and Brown; #301200) grants in physical activity and health at the School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland.

  • Competing interests None.