Tai chi, a form of “meditation in motion,” is linked with better mood and quality of life for people with heart disease, according to a new research review published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing (2020; doi:10.1177/1474515120926068).

Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson conducted the review to systematically assess the impact of tai chi practice on the psychological well-being of people with heart disease. Mental health benefits are valuable because people who live with heart disease often experience depression, anxiety and stress. The 15-study review included more than 1,850 male and female subjects with an average age of 66. Forty-four percent were women.

Data analysis showed that tai chi was linked with less psychological distress overall, lower levels of depression, and better mental and physical quality of life. Lead study author Ruth Taylor-Piliae, PhD, associate professor in the College of Nursing, said, “Tai chi is well suited for people of any age or exercise ability and can be safely adapted for anybody. People with low tolerance to exercise or breathing problems can do it in a chair. Group classes for others with cardiovascular disease are a positive place for social support and camaraderie—there is no judgment; you just do what you can.”