Intensity level and cardiorespiratory responses to Baduanjin exercise in patients with chronic heart failure

Xiankun Chen, Gaetano Marrone, Thomas P. Olson, Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg, Huiying Zhu, Zehuai Wen, Weihui Lu, Wei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Baduanjin (eight silken movements), a traditional Chinese exercise, is an alternative to the most common cardiac rehabilitation programmes due to their scarcity and unaffordability in China. The aim of this study was to measure the intensity and energy expenditure during Baduanjin and to determine the relative oxygen consumption (VO2) and heart rate (HR) responses of Baduanjin compared with maximal capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. Methods and results: Twenty participants (age: 65 ± 10 years, male: n = 17) with New York Heart Association II–III volunteered for this study. Participants were examined during two separate sessions, with 1–2 weeks between sessions. During session one, a symptom-limited cardiopulmonary exercise testing was performed on a cycle ergometer for measurement of maximal exercise capacity. Additionally, participants were taught Baduanjin exercise from a professional coach and were required to do it at home until the second session when their technique was confirmed by the coach. During session two, participants performed one 9 min round of Baduanjin with continuous measurement of VO2 and HR. Measurements obtained during the Baduanjin were compared with data obtained during cardiopulmonary exercise testing. While performing Baduanjin, the mean VO2 and HR were 7.1 ± 1.2 mL/kg/min and 86.1 ± 15.2 b.p.m., respectively. Compared with the cardiopulmonary exercise test, the VO2 was 44% of their VO2max and 67% of their HRmax, categorizing Baduanjin as a moderate-intensity exercise. The average energy expenditure during Baduanjin was 23.3 ± 4.4 kcal. Additionally, the VO2 and HR responses during Baduanjin both exhibited a bimodal pattern. Conclusions: The results suggest that Baduanjin is a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise that could be an effective and safe exercise modality for home-based cardiac rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3782-3791
Number of pages10
JournalESC Heart Failure
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Baduanjin
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Exercise intensity
  • Heart rate
  • Oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Intensity level and cardiorespiratory responses to Baduanjin exercise in patients with chronic heart failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this