An Overview of Tai Chi

One of the exercises we mentioned in our series last week was Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art designed to exercise the mind and body through a series of gentle, flowing postures that create a kind of synchronized dance.

Practiced for centuries, Tai Chi focuses on mental concentration, integrated with slow, controlled movements to focus the mind that challenge the body.

The meditative aspects of Tai Chi are said to improve the flow of what the Chinese call ”qi” (also spelled ”chi”)–the life energy thought to sustain health and quiet the mind.

The health benefits of Tai Chi are extensive. And because it requires very little commitment in terms of physical endurance and strength, it’s considered to be a great exercise for seniors looking for a low-impact exercise that will keep them active.

Below, we’ve compiled a few of the health benefits Tai Chi offers:

  • Tai Chi is easy: As we mentioned above, Tai Chi is considered a low-impact exercise, which makes it great for people carrying extra weight, or people with joint discomfort and hip limitations.
  • Tai Chi can be done almost anywhere: Unlike many exercises, Tai Chi doesn’t require any equipment or furniture. The only investment you need to make is in your body, which means that you can do it when visiting family or out in public. Sometimes, communities even offer classes free of charge.
  • Tai Chi increases balance: One of the major benefits of Tai Chi is that it improves lower body and leg strength. Tai Chi requires you to be conscious of how you shift your weight, making it a great exercise to improve balance and reduce the risks of falling.
  • Tai Chi promotes faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks: It has also been shown that Tai Chi helps improve the balance of individuals who have suffered a stroke. For individuals who have suffered from heart failure, Tai Chi has been shown to improve their ability to walk, as well as reduce blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart failure.
  • Tai Chi increases bone density: Research has also shown that Tai Chi can help maintain bone density in postmenopausal women.

These are just a handful of the many benefits of Tai Chi. In our next post, we w’ll discuss the mental benefits associated with practicing Tai Chi. Until then, if you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments below or by connecting with us on Twitter!

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