Training in ChiRunning to reduce blood pressure: a randomized controlled pilot study.

Author: McDermott K1, Kumar D2, Goldman V3, Feng H3, Mehling W3, Moskowitz JT4, Souza RB2,5, Hecht FM3.
1Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), 1545 Divisadero St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94115, USA. 2Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA. 3Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), 1545 Divisadero St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94115, USA. 4Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA. 5Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, UCSF, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Conference/Journal: BMC Complement Altern Med.
Date published: 2015 Oct 15
Other: Volume ID: 15 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 368 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0895-x , Word Count: 325

People with prehypertension (120-130/80-90 mmHg) are at increased risk of progressing to hypertension. Recommendations for prehypertension include engaging in regular physical activity. We aimed to assess feasibility and acceptability and collect preliminary outcome data on ChiRunning for people with elevated blood pressure. ChiRunning is a commercially available running program based on the mindful movements of Tai Chi, which is aimed at decreasing injury by both increasing body awareness and modifying running form.
We enrolled adults with elevated systolic (130-150 mmHg) or diastolic (80-100 mmHg) blood pressure in a 12-week pilot trial. Participants were randomized 2:1:1 to 8 weeks of: 1) intervention-a trainer-led ChiRunning group (n = 10); 2) active control-a trainer-led running group (n = 6); or 3) educational control-a self-directed running group (n = 6) and followed for 4 more weeks. The active control and educational control groups were combined for analysis.
This study was feasible, meeting recruitment, retention and adherence goals, and acceptable to participants. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not change significantly over the study for either the ChiRunning or control groups. Changes in BMI over time were significantly different from zero in the ChiRunning group (p = 0.04) but not in the control group (slope for ChiRunning -0.05 [-0.1 to -0.002] vs. control -0.01 [-0.06 to 0.04], between slope difference, p = 0.22). Self-reported running-related injury (i.e. discomfort leading to a decrease in running) was similar between groups (ChiRunning, 4 [1.2 to 8.4] vs. control, 3 [0.7 to 7.1] injuries per 100 h of running, p = 0.72) although self-reported running-related discomfort (i.e. discomfort that does not lead to changes in running) trended higher in the ChiRunning group (ChiRunning, 10 [5.4 to 16.8] vs. control, 4 [1.5 to 9] reports of discomfort per 100 h of running, p = 0.06).
ChiRunning appears to be a feasible and acceptable exercise program for people with elevated blood pressure. We did not find that ChiRunning had a significant impact on blood pressure or self reported injury, but did see a positive change in BMI over time. ChiRunning warrants further investigation in a larger trial.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01587183.
PMID: 26471194