Tai Chi is a Chinese practice and tradition that was originally developed for self-defense but evolved into a graceful exercise that can help reduce stress & anxiety and helps to increase flexibility and balance.
Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints which makes it generally safe for all ages and levels of fitness. It may be especially suitable for older adults who can’t (or may not) otherwise exercise. It also requires no special equipment and can be done inside or out. As with any exercise, it’s always a good practice to check with your physician before starting any routine.
When done correctly and regularly, tai chi offers these potential benefits:
- Helps to decrease stress and anxiety
- Increases aerobic capacity
- Increases energy and stamina
- Improves flexibility and balance
- Improves muscle strength and definition
Some studies and research also suggests that tai chi may also help:
- Lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Improve one’s quality of sleep
- Enhance the immune system
- Help to relieve joint pain
- Improve congestive heart failure symptoms
- Elevate overall well-being in older adults
- Reduce risk of falls in older adults
If tai chi sounds like something you would enjoy, there are several ways to get started. Indeed you can buy or rent a dvd or book but it’s smart to learn the proper techniques from a trained tai chi instructor. Once you’ve learned the proper movements you can practice on your own. You’re likely to find classes to help you get started at fitness centers, senior centers or your local YMCA.
You’ll reap long-term benefits as you stick with it. You’ll even find that when you’re in a stressful situation you can practice the mind-body concepts without performing the actual movements. Get started and let us know how you’re doing!