Journal of Alternative Complementary & Integrative Medicine Category: Medicine Type: Research Article
Cardiovascular Response to Qigong Training in European and Asian Participants
- Suphannika Ladawan1*, Naruemon Leelayuwat2, Panakaporn Wannanon2, Kultida Klarod3, Verena Menz1, Hannes Gatterer1, Martin Burtscher4
- 1 Department Of Sport Science, Medical Section, Faculty Of Psychology And Sport Science, University Of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
- 2 Department Of Physiology, Faculty Of Medicine, Exercise And Sport Sciences Development And Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
- 3 Department Of Physical Therapy, Faculty Of Allied Health Sciences , Burapha University, Chon Buri, Thailand
- 4 Department Of Sport Science, Medical Section, Faculty Of Psychology And Sport Science , University Of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
*Corresponding Author:Suphannika Ladawan
Department Of Sport Science, Medical Section, Faculty Of Psychology And Sport Science, University Of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Received Date: Sep 13, 2017 Accepted Date: Oct 12, 2017 Published Date: Oct 27, 2017
Methods: In this study, European and Asian participants were lifelong European and Asian residents respectively. Six healthy, sedentary Asian females (aged 53.0±5.7 years) and 6 European healthy, sedentary females (aged 49.6±7.4 years) performed Qigong exercise 3 days per week for 8 weeks followed by 12 weeks of no exercise. Blood pressure and heart rate values at rest and during submaximal exercise were assessed at baseline (T1), after the end of the training program (T2), and after 12 weeks of exercise cessation (T3).
Results: European participants showed a significant reduction in Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) and Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) after Qigong training (SBP: T=130.83±18.82 mmHg, T2=111.83±9.09 mmHg, p=0.05; MAP: T1=96.94±6.95 mmHg, T2=87.95±6.00 mmHg, p=0.02), which returned to baseline level after exercise cessation (SBP: T3=124.17±10.21mmHg, p=0.01; MAP: T3=96.94±4.77 mmHg, p=0.01). Asian participants showed slightly reduced SBP values after the training but these changes did not reach statistical significance (T1=123.00±13.48 mmHg, T2=116.83±6.46 mmHg, p=0.22). Heart rates at submaximal exercise was reduced after training in both groups (European participants: T1=118.67±9.48 beats/min, T2=112.83±7.78 beats/min, p=0.03; Asian participants: T1=113.50±4.32 beats/min, T2= 101.83±11.87 beats/min, p<0.01). No statistically significant differences were observed between groups.
Discussion: Qigong training resulted in lower heart rates to submaximal exercise in both populations and lower blood pressure values especially in people with higher values at baseline (European participants). However, beneficial effects on blood pressure disappeared after 12 weeks of exercise cessation. Therefore, training continuation is of essential importance. Further research is required to examine whether our SBP findings in response to Qigong training were due to higher baseline blood pressure, sample bias (migration) or ethnicity differences.
Qigong is widely practiced in Asia and now also becoming popular in Europe. Previous studies reported that Caucasians had higher mean total lung capacity, vital capacity, fat free mass, inspiratory and expiratory muscle pressures and wider chests than Chinese and Indians . Korotzer et al., reported that Asians have lower forced vital capacity, Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1), and alveolar volume than Europeans . Although, it is clear that ethnicity is different in physical appearance, ethnicity differences in cardiovascular responses to exercise are not well understood. Bouchard and Rankinen suggested that race was not an important factor influencing training responses . However, Swift et al., found that African American women have lower cardiorespiratory fitness at baseline and an attenuated the response to aerobic exercise training compared with Caucasian American women . Therefore, the present study aimed at comparing cardiovascular responses to Qigong training between healthy, sedentary European and Asian participants. This study focus on healthy, sedentary participants because there are only few studies investigate effect of Qigong exercise in healthy sedentary. In addition, previous studies reported that Qigong was light to moderate intensity exercise [12,13]. This exercise may be alternative exercise for sedentary people to start regular exercise.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Submaximal exercise HR was obtained by HR during incremental cycling exercise test. The exercise began with warming up at 0 watt for 1 minute, and then workloads were increased to 25 watts for 2 minutes. After that, the workload was increased to 50 watts for 2 minutes. A 3-lead ECG was recorded throughout the test. HR at the end of 2 minutes of 50 watts was defined as submaximal HR.
|Characteristic||European (n=6)||Asian (n=6)|
|Body mass (kg)||60.0±8.1||55.5±6.51|
|% Body fat||34.0±5.0||33.7±3.7|
After 8 weeks of Qigong training, European participants showed significant lowering in SBP (p=0.02) and MAP (p=0.05) which returned to baseline after 12 weeks of Qigong cessation (SBP; p=0.01, and MAP; p=0.01). DBP was not changed after Qigong training but increased significantly after 12 weeks cessation of training (p=0.004). Asian participants tended to decrease SBP after the Qigong training but the change did not reach statistical significance (p=0.22). Resting heart rates remained unchanged within both groups from T1 to T2 and to T3 (Table 2 and Figure 1). No significantly different changes were observed between groups.
|Variables||Time||European (n=6)||Asian (n=6)|
Compared to before training, submaximal exercise heart rate decreased significantly after 8 weeks of Qigong training in both Asian and European participants (Table 3).
|Group||T1 (beats/min)||T2 (beats/min)||p|
When the data were adjusted for age and BMI, the similar trends were found. Asian participants, there was no significant difference among T1, T2 and T3 for all parameters except submaximal HR decreased significantly after Qigong training (p=0.04). European participants, MAP and submaximal HR decreased significantly after Qigong training (p=0.02 and p=0.04, respectively). SBP tended to decrease after training (p=0.06 for age adjustment and p=0.06 for age and BMI adjustment). After adjusted for age, European participants had higher baseline DBP and baseline MAP than Asian participants (p=0.02 and p=0.04, respectively), baseline DBP still higher in European participants when data were adjusted for BMI (p=0.05).
Control of breathing during Qigong training may alter the autonomic nervous system function and contribute to improvement of cardiovascular function at rest and during submaximal exercise as well. The results of the present study are consistent with that reported by Lee et al., who showed that Qigong training significantly reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients. The authors suggested that Qigong may decrease systemic blood pressure by stabilizing the sympathetic nervous system . In the present study, Qigong training had a more clear effect on SBP and MAP in the European than the Asian participants. These finding is in agreement with previous studies demonstrating that ethnicity may impact differently on the response to exercise training. For instance, Swift et al., reported that African American postmenopausal women had an attenuated increase in cardiorespiratory fitness following exercise training compared with Caucasian American women . Rice et al., suggested that exercise responses/trainability of SBP and HR were associated with genetic factors . On the other hand, Skinner et al., demonstrated that there are no significant differences between blacks and whites in the mean increase in VO2 max (ml/min or ml?kg FFM-1?min-1) with exercise training. The study suggested that race has no significant effect on the response of VO2 max to exercise training .
The larger decrease of blood pressure after Qigong training in European participants might be due to the somewhat higher baseline systemic blood pressure compared to the Asian participants. Pescatello and Kulikowich demonstrated that participants with the highest baseline blood pressure showed the greatest post-exercise blood pressure reductions . In addition, Melo et al., showed a positive correlation between baseline blood pressure and its reduction after exercise . However, the association between baseline blood pressure and training induced change in blood pressure is not clear. Kiviniemi et al., suggested that baseline sympathetic predominance may predict the larger training induced decrease in DBP indicating that participants with sympathetic predominance may have greater potential to decrease neural sympathetic activity . The present study was conducted in Innsbruck for European group and in Khon Kaen for Asian group. Innsbruck is located at about 600 mabove sea level (with the opportunity to reach easily higher altitudes) while Khon Kaen between 100-200 meters above sea level [21,22]. Living and training at different altitudes may result in differences in physiological response to training. There are several factors influencing blood pressure response to exercise training such as baseline blood pressure, age, genetics, or environmental factor [16,23-25].
In addition, submaximal exercise HRs was significantly decreased after Qigong training in both groups. This finding is well in agreement with previous studies reporting that a five-week aerobic exercise training program reduced HRs response to submaximal workload with no changes in resting HRs . Carter et al., suggested that endurance exercise training decreases submaximal exercise HRs by reducing sympathetic activity to the heart . Thus, even the low intensity training as done by Qigong training is sufficient to reduce HRs to submaximal exercise.
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Citation: Ladawan S, Leelayuwat N, Wannanon P, Klarod K, Menz V, et al. (2017) Cardiovascular Response to Qigong Training in European and Asian Participants. J Altern Complement Integr Med 3: 040.
Copyright: © 2017 Suphannika Ladawan, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.