Fitness

6 Benefits (and 7 Surprising Benefits!) of Tai Chi

I believe that we all have the heart of an athlete and hence we eventually find the exercise or exercises that suit us. I want to continue to explore non-traditional exercises (in this case, “non-traditional” is in a Western sense) and this week I’ll highlight tai chi and the benefits we can all obtain by incorporating tai chi into our daily routine.

You may recall that I previously wrote about qigong and how the meditative exercise is one anyone can perform. https://wide-body.com/2020/08/24/qigong-a-meditative-exercise-made-for-everyone/ Several of the same features in which I praised qigong can be found in tai chi; low impact, measured physical movements, meditative, and stress relieving.

It seems natural for tai chi to be practiced outdoors


6 Benefits of Tai Chi

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are 6 benefits to practicing tai chi:

1.Decreased stress, anxiety and depression: Not surprising as we’ve read several studies that conclude exercise relieves stress and thus anxiety

2.Improved mood: Potent endorphins are released in the body after exercise, thus improving one’s mood and metal well being. 

3.Improved aerobic capacity: Low impact does not mean there is little aerobic activity. If you’ve ever done, you’ll agree that is a low impact exercise that increases your heart rate.

4.Increased energy and stamina: The more we exercise, the more our body adjusts to provide us the energy needed to continue exercising.

5.Improved flexibility, balance, and agility: The measured movements in tai chi is what leads to better balance and more flexibility.

6.Improved muscle strength and definition: As I stated above, the measured movements lead to improved strength.

Practicing with a group means you will more likely continue exercising

7 Surprising Benefits of Tai Chi

If the above didn’t entice you to start a tai chi routine, here are 7 surprising benefits of tai chi

1.Enhance quality of sleep: Who doesn’t want to sleep better? Studies in older and younger adults have shown improvements in sleep for those who practice tai chi at least twice a week.

2. Enhance the immune system: Exercise in general improves one’s immune system. Other studies also point that tai chi may decrease symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

3. Help lower blood pressure: Exercise relieves stress, and thus lower your blood pressure. A 2018 study showed that tai chi relieves as much stress as regular exercise. And because meditative has meditative properties, it may be superior to other forms of exercise for lowering blood pressure.

4. Improve joint pain: I noted about that tai chi is a low impact exercise. In some small studies, the researchers also concluded that tai chi was also able to relieve the joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and is as equally effective as standard physical therapy for the knee.  

5. Improve symptoms of congestive heart failure: For those who suffer from congestive heart failure, moving fluid off the heart is critical. One of the best ways to move fluid within the body is to actually move the body. Tai chi can safely be preformed by most folks who suffer from heart disease.

6. Improve overall well-being: As I noted above, exercise releases endorphins, thus improving your mood, and your overall well being.

7. Reduce risk of falls in older adults: Tai chi has been show to improve motor skills and balance in older adults, and results can be seen in as little as eight weeks. My belief is that the measured movements in tai chi actually improve the strength of the smaller support muscles found throughout the body. The large muscles create motion, but the small muscles create balance and stability. As we age, the loss of small muscle strength is noticeable in our lack of balance.

Sources for the information listed above came from the Mayo Clinic and Healthline. Below are their links. Thank you.  
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184#:~:text=When%20learned%20correctly%20and%20performed%20regularly%2C%20tai%20chi,energy%20and%20stamina.%20Improved%20flexibility%2C%20balance%20and%20agility.

https://www.healthline.com/health/tai-chi-benefits

Who wouldn’t to exercise in such beautiful scenery?


Are you ready to start?

I recommend finding a tai chi class in your area. Your local YMCA, community center, or church may offer a once or twice a week tai chi class. By attending a regularly scheduled class, you are more likely to continue to attend the class and gain the benefits from tai chi.

What if you don’t have classes near you or you want to try the exercise out at home and see if you like it before attending? In the next post, I will list a number of tai chi videos specifically designed for beginners.


Have a Comment?

We would love to hear from you. Do you practice tai chi today or are you considering starting a routine? Please share with us your thoughts and if you are seeing improvements in your life related to tai chi. Thank you for leaving your comments below.

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