Background: The risk factors of ischemic heart disease (IHD) include hypertension, inactivity, dyslipidemia, obesity, family history of coronary heart disease, and other conditions. The long asymptomatic latent period in IHD is the best phase in which to undertake preventative interventions. Purpose: The aims of the present study were to examine the effects of a 12-week group Qigong exercise on modifying the risk factors of IHD. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial and repeated measures were used. Eligible participants were recruited from several different community health centers. Participants were grouped by their associated center, with each center randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 84 participants) or control group (n = 61 participants). The participants in the experimental group were invited to participate in a 60- minute group Qigong exercise session for three times each week over a 3-month period. The control group did not receive any Qigong exercise intervention. Blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, body mass index, waist hip ratio, and Short-Form Geriatric Depression Scale were collected at baseline and at the 6- week, 12-week, and 16-week follow-ups. Total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (TC/HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)/HDL were assessed at baseline and at the 12-week posttest only. Results: Linear mixed model analyses revealed that the Qigong exercise participants had improved significantly in terms of systolic blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, depression states, and TC/HDL ratio in comparison with their control group peers at the 12-week posttest. Moreover, these positive effects on depression, pulse rate, and respiratory rate continued through the 16-week posttest. Conclusions/Implications for Practice: For community adults aged over 40 years with risk factors of IHD, a 12- week group Qigong exercise may effectively reduce systolic blood pressure and depression as well as modify TC/ HDL. Qigong exercise may protect people with risks of IHD and be used as a self-relaxation technique and health promotion intervention.
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