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14 June 2021
Tai chi is an ancient form of Chinese martial art that is often practised today as a graceful form of exercise and meditation. Often described as meditation in motion, Tai Chi involves a series of gentle, flowing movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
The movements are generally low impact with minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. Here are some benefits of taking up Tai Chi as a form of daily exercise:
A 2018 study cited in the Journal of Psychology found that Tai Chi provides the same benefits for managing stress-related anxiety as exercises like yoga or running.
Due to its meditative nature, the emphasis on slow movements and focused breathing helps you to reduce stress by letting your mind focus on the practice.
Regular Tai Chi sessions can also help with weight management but just like its movements, it will be slow and steady. A 2015 study by the Chinese University of Hong Kong noted regular Tai Chi practitioners experienced some weight loss without any additional lifestyle changes over the course of 3 months.
According to a 2016 study cited in the Nature and Science of Sleep journal, individuals who practised Tai Chi experienced significant improvements in their quality of sleep. In fact, the study noted that Tai Chi may be considered as an alternative behavioural therapy in the treatment of insomnia.
Due to its emphasis on mind and body with slow paced but concentrated movements, Tai Chi may improve cognition in older adults as well. It may help to improve memory and executive functioning skills like paying attention and carrying out complex tasks.
Despite its emphasis on being slow and gentle, Tai Chi can also improve the muscle strength, flexibility and balance of regular practitioners. According to Harvard, Tai Chi at regular intervals can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking. According to a 2018 study cited by the journal Materia Socio Medica, Tai Chi can also improve balance and motor function, and reduce risk of falling in older adults.
Studies dating back to the 2010s as cited in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders have shown that when practised for more than 10 weeks regularly, Tai Chi can lessen the pain experienced by those suffering from arthritis. This is most likely due to the low impact but focused movements that tend to improve muscle function in the upper and lower limbs slowly.
Many people find Tai Chi appealing because it's inexpensive and requires no special equipment or a lot of space. You can do Tai Chi anywhere, including indoors or outdoors. Plus, you can do Tai Chi alone or in a group. The fact that it helps calm your mind, move your body, and bring some balance into your daily life makes it a great health activity to add to your daily life.
The above articles are intended for informational purposes only. AIA accepts no responsibility for loss, which may arise from reliance on information contained in the articles.