This is a FACT.
If you practice tai chi you know that it increases range of movement and coordination, improves balance, relaxes the mind and relieves stiffness of the joints and muscles. The benefits of tai chi benefits are numerous and well-documented as tai chi keeps the mind and body in balance.
Commonly referred to as “meditation in motion” – this form of complementary medicine uses slow deliberate movements, which makes it ideal for those seeking exercise without strain.
Developed as a self-defense martial art in the 12th century, tai chi benefits balances the flow of energy found within your body. Practiced daily by thousands of elderly people in Asia and its popularity in the United States continues to grow.
Principles of Tai Chi:
- Overcome force and severity with softness, gentleness and smoothness
- Move a ton with an ounce
- Adapt your opponent’s style and beat him at it
Though there are “mystical” components attributed to the benefits of tai chi, scientists believe it is the mind-body awareness that develops through this graceful form of exercise that causes a chain reaction of relaxation and physical well-being.
The elderly, in particular, benefit from the increased balance and greater muscle strength that results from tai chi – two positive influences that lower their risk of fall-related injuries. Studies conducted by the National Institute on Aging found incredible improvements in strength and balance among older adults, and participants felt more confidence in their physical abilities.
Preserve Bone Density with Tai Chi Benefits
Losing bone density increases your risk of fractures and breaks if you fall, but tai chi benefits offer an easy way to preserve and increase bone strength.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published the results of a study involving more than 80 women with an average age of 62 who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. After six months, those subjects participating in tai chi classes showed remarkable improvements in flexibility, leg strength, balance and bone density.
Harvard researchers found that tai chi may be one effective way to preserve bone density in women who have gone through menopause. Preserving bone density lowers the risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.
3 Core Aspects of Tai Chi
- Deliberate Movement
When you practice tai chi, all of your major muscle groups become involved. A session lasts approximately one hour and involves movements that are slow and focused. Each position flows into the next so that your body is in constant motion.
Improvements to strength, balance, body weight and overall agility are the most common physical benefits of tai chi.
- Deep Breathing
Guided deep breathing improves circulation, which increases brain function and transports necessary nutrients more efficiently. Fans of tai chi say they feel more alert after a class. Toxins are exhaled and clean air inhaled deeply into the lungs, a process that increases lung capacity.
Keeping your mind focused throughout each movement and concentrating on the inner being is pivotal to the mind-body balance achieved through tai chi. Active followers report feeling calm, self-aware, mentally alert and physically empowered.
Mind – Body – Spirit Tai Chi Brings It Altogether
At the start, tai chi may feel more “physical” but as you progress you will see a steadily greater impact on your mental state and emotional well-being.
If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease or osteoarthritis, or are currently pregnant, talk to your doctor before beginning tai chi.
Those who practice typically do so long-term – whether with a class or at home as they gain confidence – due to the far-reaching mental and physical benefits of tai chi.
Classes are commonly held at gyms, community centers and senior living facilities. Don’t wait another day to try tai chi – you are going to love it!