Tai chi (also known as tai-chi chuan) is a way of moving. It combines relaxation and deep breathing with slow and very gentle movements. Tai chi originates from China from the 13th –century. This way of moving is practiced by more than 200 million people.
Health benefits of Tai Chi
In China, it is thought that it can prolong life and delay aging, strengthen tendons and muscles, increase flexibility, and help in the treatment of high blood pressure, digestive disorders, depression, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, skin diseases and many other conditions. Unfortunately, there is not a powerful deal of scientific evidence to support these statements yet. There is a simply small number of studies that supports the positive effects of this practice on fitness, balance, mobility, stress and a few other health conditions.
Having these limitations in mind, Your Health Tubers are sharing some of the documented, proven health benefits. So, tai chi can:
- Prevent Balance and Fall
Most of the studies suggest that this exercise could reduce the risk of falls, especially among older adults who are at increased risk. Because the movements are slow and gentle from one leg to other in harmonization with the upper movements of the body, it challenges balance and helps improve the balance and reduce frequent falling. In a research involving 21 men and women aged 23-75 years with some balance disorder, it was found that 8 weeks of tai chi practice significantly improved the balance according to a standard balance test (known as the Romberg test). This movement has also a capability to improve the fear of falling and self-confidence.
- Help with arthritis
There is an evidence that this practice could improve mobility in the hip, knee, and ankle in people with arthritis. But, it is still not proven if this movement can eliminate pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis or improve the quality of their life.
- Boost Endurance and Stamina
One research looked at people between 60-70 years who trained tai chi for 12 weeks, 3 times a week. After only 6 weeks of training, statistically, major improvements were observed in muscular strength, balance, flexibility and endurance measures. These improvements increased further after twelve weeks. The experts of the research concluded that this exercise is an effective intervention that improved upper and lower body muscular strength, flexibility, endurance and balance in older adults.
- Improve Aerobic Capacity
Aerobic capacities diminish as we get older, but investigation on the traditional form of aerobic exercise have proven that it can actually improve with regular exercising. The researchers found that people (from 56- 61 years old) who practiced tai chi for about 1 year had higher aerobic capacities than sedentary people around the same age. The experts claim that it might be some kind of aerobic form.
- Improve Walking
The speed of walking decreases with age and experts suggest that it may be related to an increased risk of falling. A significant research has shown that people who trained tai chi were able to walk more steps than people who didn’t. Moreover, walking has been related to a decreased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases. Therefore, if it improves walking, it’s definitely worth giving it a try.
- Reduce Stress
The demands of living are certainly stressful for people of all ages. Many studies have directly pointed out to it as a practice that can reduce stress, improve mental concentration and provide great relaxation. I know that when I practice yoga and occasionally tai chi, the inner sense of calm and peace is indisputable, so I suggest that you give tai chi a chance if you’re really looking for a physically active and creative way to improve how you physically and mentally and respond to tension and stress. This practice can be also beneficial for anger management treatment.
Other Reasons to Try Tai Chi
- The risk of injuries is very low;
- You do it at your own speed;
- Movements are gentle and you put minimal stress on your joints and muscles;
- You can do it anytime, anywhere;
- It is non-competitive;
- It requires little space and no any special equipment or clothing;
- You can do it alone or in groups, and
- There are so many beneficial movements to keep you interested.
How to Learn Tai Chi?
You can learn this exercise by visiting professional classes with a personal instructor, or you can find and watch Tai Chi classes on DVD/Blu-Ray or read a book. However, it is an excellent idea to learn some basics about this movement from an instructor in order to make sure your movements are correct, effective and won’t cause injuries. Then, once you get familiar with the poses, you can use books, DVDs/Blu-Ray, or even YouTube videos that will help you practice.
Below you can find a great short video for beginners that will help you learn more about this exercise and try some exercises at home.
Experience the gentle movements of Tai Chi, treat your body to a gentle, nice and relaxing workout in order to improve your mobility and balance, prevent fall and reduce stress. It is highly recommendable for older people and everyone who want to experience a smooth exercise that will calm, refresh and energize them.
Just 10-15 minutes a day is your passport to better fitness, peace of mind and overall health. A person usually needs at least about 1 year of tai chi before becomes proficient.