Identifying alternative exercise modalities in an effort to stimulate and promote participation in physical activity, especially among older adults, is a critical health consideration. The purpose of this study was to compare physiological and psychological responses to medical qigong with self-paced brisk walking. Older women (55–79 years) performed 22 min of either qigong or walking on two separate days. During exercise performance, heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion were assessed. Psychological affect, blood pressure, and pulse rate were assessed before and after the exercise bouts. Heart-rate data indicated that both forms of exercise were at a moderate level of intensity. In addition, similar values were found for the physiological and psychological variables as a function of the two forms of exercise. Therefore, it was concluded that this form of medical qigong can be considered a moderate-intensity physical activity that should have both physiological and psychological benefits for older women.
Kjos is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85014. Etnier is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170.