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Effects of Tai Chi on Antioxidant Capacity in Pre- and Postmenopausal Women
 
May 28, 2011 -
The risk of oxidative stress-related metabolic diseases increases with menopause and physical inactivity. A group of French researchers hypothesized that an 8-week Tai Chi (TC) training program (2 sessions in class; 2 sessions at home; 1-1:15/session) would improve antioxidant capacity and reduce cardiovascular risks in both pre- (8 participants) and postmenopausal (7 participants) sedentary women.
 
Selected measures of physical fitness and blood parameters were analyzed before and after the program. Besides the well-known effects of TC on balance, flexibility, and maximum leg extensor strength, TC (1) increased erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity-an aerobic training-responsive antioxidant enzyme-and plasma total antioxidant status and (2) decreased plasma total homocysteine, a cardiovascular risk marker.
 
 In addition to being a low-velocity, low-impact, and relatively safe, TC is a suitable physical activity design for pre- and postmenopausal women to increase antioxidant defenses. Investigating breathing effects during TC movements would be an interesting area for further research in diseases prevention.
 
This study is published in the April 2011 issue of Journal of Aging Research.

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