European Respiratory Society

Short-form Sun-style Tai Chi as an exercise training modality in people with COPD

Regina Wai Man Leung, Zoe J McKeough, Matthew J Peters, Jennifer A Alison


The aims of the study were to determine the effect of short-form Sun-style Tai Chi (SSTC) (Part A) and investigate exercise intensity of SSTC (Part B) in people with COPD.

Part A: After confirmation of eligibility, participants were randomly allocated to either the Tai Chi Group (TCG) or Control Group (CG) (usual medical care). Participants in the TCG trained twice weekly for 12 weeks. Part B: Participants who had completed training in the TCG performed a peak exercise test (incremental shuttle walk test) and SSTC while oxygen consumption (VO2) was measured. Exercise intensity of SSTC was determined by the percent of VO2 reserve.

Of 42 participants (mean (SD) FEV1 59 (16) % predicted), 38 completed Part A and 15 completed Part B. Compared to control, SSTC significantly increased endurance shuttle walk time (mean difference, 95%CI) (384 seconds, 186 to 510); reduced medial-lateral body sway in semi-tandem stand (−12.4 millimetres, −21 to −3); and increased total score on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire (11 points, 4 to 18). The exercise intensity of SSTC was 53 (18) % of VO2 reserve.

SSTC was an effective training modality in people with COPD achieving a moderate exercise intensity which meets the training recommendations.