“Dance” sounds a lot more enjoyable than “exercise,” so I signed up for Tai Chi classes after a gentleman quietly explained that it was a lot like dancing – that I can handle, I thought.
Tai Chi is a martial art but it’s graceful, like slow motion. When you see the movements, it’s logical that it would have lots of health benefits (for children up to seniors since the exercise is ideal for the same reasons).
Specific health benefits appear to be (always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program):
- Mobility of the joints, muscles and tendons is increased, preventing shrinkage of the tendons that hold the skeletal structure together -which would improve the flexibility of people with chronic back pain or arthritis.
- Slims legs by strengthening the muscles in the lower body, especially the thighs, buttocks and calves by increasing muscle tone.
- Helps neck and lower back strain by encouraging good posture and keeping the head, neck and spine in line.
- Builds bone and is good for the prevention of osteoporosis because it is a weight-bearing exercise.
- Improves balance with the basic Tai Chi stance, which creates a base of support with the body upright, teaching how to shift weight from one leg to another. A physician and clinical researcher in Toronto, Ontario, praises Tai Chi as “an incredible system for learning balance … It can have a profoundly positive effect on people with poor balance and gait due to, for example, a stroke, MS, Parkinson’s or AIDS.”
- Improves blood circulation and helps prevent vascular sclerosis, improves cardiovascular responses and lowers blood pressure, says medical consultant and geriatric specialist Elliot Kravitz, M.D. at McGill University Medical School (Montreal, Quebec)
- Boosts the immune system to fight infection, shown by research in China. Just 20 minutes of Tai Chi significantly boosts your white blood cell levels.
- Helps the lungs, because Tai Chi requires deep, relaxing abdominal breathing. People who practice Tai Chi regularly use their lungs more efficiently than people who use other forms of exercise..
- Helps the heart, since it is worked as effectively as walking at a speed of 6 km/hr in studies from Australia and Taiwan.
- Helps blood circulation to the intestines and improves bowel function. Dr. Kravitz says that “Exercise is the cornerstone of bowel regularity and Tai Chi helps prevent constipation – a problem that can severely affect a person’s quality of life.”
- It helps fight stress, teaching you to relax your whole body. Tai Chi reduces the levels of stress hormones as effectively as other moderate exercise, and so students report less tension, depression, fatigue, anxiety, anger and insomnia.
- You benefit from exercise without the pulled muscles and other injuries because the movements are slow and smooth.
Have a look at the demonstration:
Tai Chi is said to promote good health by “enhancing the circulation of Chi, or “intrinsic energy, in the body,” … “that ill health comes from impairments/blockages in the flow of this internal energy through specific pathways/meridians in the body … The 108 movements of the exercise are designed to open up blockages along the meridians and allow energy to flow freely through key areas in the body and nourish and stimulate the internal organs to which the meridians are connected.”
Our super-athlete daughter is always trying to get me out running, but my spine rebels. I hope this activity will give me the health benefits of running, without the strain!
Let me know if you’ve tried it and what your results were?
My nutritional product web site: www.betterhealth-fast.com