Do you want to do some exercise but is afraid of any risk of injury or is already incapable of doing strenuous sports like basketball, dancing, soccer and other sports? Well, here is Tai Chi for you. It is not just for the elderly but more and more people all over the world are now including Tai Chi to their fitness routine workouts. Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is today practiced around the world as a health-promoting exercise. Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.
If you are still in doubt on trying out Tai Chi, let me broaden your mind on how Tai Chi works. Here are some of the things that Tai Chi can give to you with some evidence to prove so:
- Develops muscle strength and flexibility. A study was made by the researchers of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine of Stanford University was able to prove benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls). At the same time, women who undergo Tai chi were observed to develop flexibility in their upper and lower body.
- Improves Balance. Though balance lowers as our body weakens or age, tai chi can help keep that up as long as you do it regularly. Proprioception — the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble. Fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear.
- It is also good for aerobic conditioning. It actually depends on the intensity of the workout given to you. Some exercise includes brisk walking which is a very good aerobic conditioning exercise. Still if you are in need for a more intense workout, you can still opt to try out other sports.
Tai chi is characterized by its slow, graceful, continuous movements that are gentle on the joints and muscles. Done correctly, you’ll find that the tai chi poses flow smoothly from one into another. Many movements are completed with bent knees in a squat-like position. Tai chi can be in three techniques namely yang, chen and wu. Some instructors can offer a combination of the three. Tai chi is a good alternative workout like Yoga and Pilates which can help you achieve balance from a vigorous, fast and high-intensity workout to a soft, light and relaxing mind-body exercise.