Whenever the word ‘Tai Chi’ is mentioned, many people picture sagely old men and women doing slow martial arts moves in synchronization at a public park. In actual fact, Tai Chi is an exercise routine that can be practiced no matter your age, even by young children. Tai Chi traces its roots in the meditative martial arts practiced by Buddhist and Taoist monks in their monasteries and only found its way to the common people later on.
There are many styles of Tai Chi and all of them have different roots and distinctly different patterns of movement. However, they all share several common traits, which is that they’re all meditative, low impact, and slow-motion movements that are built around breathing regimens.
Tai Chi movements can be practiced in groups or alone, and they provide many health benefits that have been proven by research. These are some of the health aspects that will benefit from Tai Chi:
Tai Chi is one exercise that therapists often recommend to their patients in order to manage depression, stress, and anxiety. The breathing patterns in Tai Chi movements are able to regulate heartbeats and promote the release of mood-boosting hormones. This elevation of mental health has an effect on the body’s condition too, and Tai Chi has been known to improve many stress-related symptoms like joint pain and headaches.
Tai Chi is one exercise that can regulate blood pressure and increase the capacity of both the heart and lungs, essentially making these organs more efficient in providing blood and oxygen to the whole body. More oxygen means that the body is able to feel more energetic and perform tasks better. It also means that you’ll have more stamina to last the day as Tai Chi is an effective aerobic exercise.
Our joints tend to become stiff if we don’t use them often. Many people in this day and age have sedentary jobs, which mean that there is little opportunity to use many of their muscles and joints. This leads to a lack of flexibility, for example, some people may not be able to lift their hands above their heads and this may prevent them from performing simple things like reaching a book on a high shelf. This lack of flexibility gets more pronounced as one ages, so Tai Chi is one way to gently get the joints moving again.
Bad posture is a major contributor to back pain and spinal issues. Tai Chi encourages practitioners to have straight postures while they exercise and go through the movements. This posture is often carried over into everyday routine, thereby minimizing the chance of backaches. In the elderly especially, balance can be an issue, which can lead to falls that cause injury and hospitalization. Tai Chi trains the key balancing muscles and conditions them to immediately know what stance to take to increase balance when walking and moving around, thereby reducing cases of accidental falls among senior citizens.
Muscle weakness can be the after effects of diseases or strokes, but Tai Chi is able to train those muscles so that they regain their full strength and can be fully utilized again. Strong muscles don’t get inflamed as much and are less prone to arthritis.
Tai Chi is a gentle, non-combative and non-engaging martial art that is very suitable for those that don’t enjoy rigorous exercise. It’s also good for those who are recovering from surgery, stroke and other illnesses as it isn’t physically taxing. The physical and mental changes from Tai Chi can be seen within several months of practicing it, so you’ll have to stick to it to see results.
Gentle reminder: The information on this article is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare professional and should not be considered as professional advice. Please seek appropriate medical help when necessary.