Study Suggests Tai Chi As An Effective Way To Reduce Belly Fat In Middle Age

As the country continues to open up, many are looking for ways to lose what's being called the "COVID 15" -- the weight many people gained over the past year. CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez says a new study finds tai chi could be a good option.

Video Transcript

- Well, as our country continues to open up, many are looking for ways to lose what's being called the COVID 15, the weight that many people gained over the past year.

- Well we know that exercise can be a big help in weight loss, but spending time inside a gym isn't always appealing, especially right now. CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez says a new study finds Tai Chi could be a good option.

MAX GOMEZ: The ancient movement art of Tai Chi has been described as meditation in motion. It's easy to learn. More than two million people in the US practice it. And while it doesn't look very strenuous, a rigorous new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that Tai Chi may actually be an effective way to reduce belly fat in middle age.

PARCO SIU: Our study of older adults found that both Tai Chi and conventional exercise improved central obesity by reducing waist circumference and body weight to a greater degree than those in our study who did not exercise regularly.

MAX GOMEZ: Researchers from the University of Hong Kong randomly assigned more than 500 adults over age 50 with central obesity to a regimen of Tai Chi, conventional exercise, or no exercise at all over three months. Central obesity as measured by waist circumference is a key marker of a cluster of heart health issues. And the authors found some benefits in the smaller waist sizes.

PARCO SIU: In our study, Tai Chi and conventional exercise provide about equal benefit in terms of reduced waist circumference and improvement in some metabolic issues for middle-aged adults with central obesity.

MAX GOMEZ: And because Tai Chi is a gentle, mind-body exercise, it could be a good alternative for middle-aged and older adults who may be averse to conventional exercise. Tai Chi is also well suited for older adults, especially those who have not been previously active, because it involves smooth, gentle body movements. But this is the first time its health benefits have been measured in a scientific study. Dr. Max Gomez, CBS2 News.

- And Tai Chi is easy to learn. You can even try online classes to see if it's a good fit for you.