A Review Of The Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of The Arm Swing Exercise(ASE)

There is now a small body of scientific evidence growing which has found that the arm swing exercise(ASE) may offer significant potential health benefits, especially for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.

The Arm Swing Exercise(ASE) is a type of low-impact exercise that is a common movement in Tai Chi/Qi Gong and can be practiced easily at home.

The ASE normally follows the pattern of swinging the arms forward 30 degrees and then swing backward 60 degrees for each swing. Feet are generally positioned shoulder width apart, head facing upwards and palms facing backwards.

A typical arm swing exercise session as described in the studies lasts around 30 minutes, performed around 3 times weekly to daily.

Always consult a healthcare professional before adopting any new exercise or fitness regimes.

Let’s take a look at the latest research on the potential health benefits of the arm swing exercise(ASE).

Improvement Of Pulmonary Function In Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

Arm Swing Exercise Type 2 Diabetes

A study published in 2015 investigated the effects of the arm swing exercise(ASE) on lung function and obesity in overweight patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

Twenty-four subjects continued their daily life routines for 8 weeks (control period), and then performed ASE for 8 weeks (30 minutes per day, 3 days per week) (ASE period).

After the ASE period, the forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration, and maximal voluntary ventilation were increased when compared with after the control period.

HbA1c, a low-density lipoprotein, malondialdehyde, oxidized glutathione, and the percent body fat were significantly decreased when compared with after the control period.

However, other parameters, such as lung volume, anthropometric parameters, and fasting blood glucose, insulin, high-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, total cholesterol and glutathione concentrations, showed no differences between the two periods.

The study concluded:

These data suggest that there is improvement of pulmonary functions in T2DM patients after ASE(arm swing exercise) training. [1]

Improve Efficacy Of The Cardiovascular System

Arm Swing Exercise Cardiovascular Health

Another study published in 2015 investigated the effect of the Arm Swing on the heart rate of non-athletes.

The study compared the differences in mean number of arm swings, heart rates and energy expenditures between the groups and examined the effect of basic characteristics and number of arm swing on heart rates and energy expenditures in Thai people.

The study concluded:

Although ASE is a light intensity exercise, if done 30 minutes every day, ASE will improve efficacy of the cardiovascular system. [2]

Arm Swing Exercise In Older Persons With Prehypertension

Arm Swing Exercise Prehypertension

Following on from the previous study a randomized controlled trial published 2019 investigated the effect and carry-over effect of arm swing exercise (ASE) training on cardiac autonomic modulation, cardiovascular risk factors, and blood electrolytes in older persons with prehypertension.

Subjects were 50 individuals with prehypertension (aged 66.90 ± 5.50 yr, body mass index 23.84 ± 3.65 kg/m2). They were randomly assigned into ASE group and control group.

Subjects in the ASE group underwent an ASE training program for 3 months at a frequency of 30 min/day, 3 days/week. Subjects in the control group maintained their daily routine activities minus regular exercise.

Blood pressure, heart rate variability (HRV), cardiovascular risk factors including blood glucose, lipid profile, high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), and electrolytes were evaluated on 3 occasions: before and after the 3-month intervention, and 1 month after intervention ended.

The study concluded:

ASE training decreased SBP(systolic blood pressure) and serum hsCRP concentration, increased serum HDL-cholesterol, K+, and Mg2+ concentrations and increased RMSSD and HF power values in older persons with prehypertension.

In addition, there were carry-over effects of ASE training i.e. decreased SBP and serum hsCRP concentration as well as increased serum HDL-cholesterol and K+ concentrations. [3]


[1] Improvement of pulmonary function with arm swing exercise in patients with type 2 diabetes


[2] The Effect of the Arm Swing on the Heart Rate of Non-Athletes.


[3] Effects of arm swing exercise training on cardiac autonomic modulation, cardiovascular risk factors, and electrolytes in persons aged 60-80 years with prehypertension: A randomized controlled trial.


The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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