Tai Chi: What It Is and the Health Benefits of It
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is frequently described as “meditation in motion,” but it could also be referred to as “medication in motion.”Tai chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation” because it promotes serenity through gentle movements that connect the mind and body. Tai chi is a type of exercise that originated in China. There is mounting evidence that practices mind-body based on martial arts and consists of slow movements and deep breathing. Tai chi is a gentle series of physical exercises and stretches. Each posture flows seamlessly into the next, keeping your body in constant motion.
Tai chi has many different styles. Each style places a different emphasis on various tai chi principles and methods.
● Chen style: the oldest form, distinguished by the alternation of fast and explosive
movements with slow and gentle movements.
● Yang style: the most popular form practiced today, characterized by gentle, large-frame
movements. This is the basis for the majority of our programs.
● Hao style: emphasis on internal force (a lesser-known style)
● Wu style is characterized by softness. The emphasis is on redirecting incoming force
with a slightly forward-leaning posture.
● Sun style: characterized by lively steps and a slightly higher stance (it is the youngest of
all forms and is used in our arthritis programs).
Tai chi has numerous physical and emotional advantages. Tai chi has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve cognition. You can begin even if you are out of shape or in poor health.
Health benefits of Tai Chi:
➔ Muscle strength – Tai chi can help with both lower and upper body strength. Tai chi, when practiced on a regular basis, can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking. Although you are not using weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise in tai chi helps to strengthen your upper body. Tai chi strengthens the lower and upper extremities, as well as the back and abdomen core muscles.
➔ Flexibility – Tai chi can improve upper- and lower-body flexibility and strength.
➔ Balance – Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, lowers the risk of falling. Proprioception, or the ability to sense one’s body’s position in space, declines with age. Tai chi assists in the development of this sense, which is controlled by sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also increases muscle strength and flexibility, making it easier to recover from falls. Fear of falling can increase your risk of falling; some studies have found that tai chi training can help reduce that fear.
➔ Aerobic conditioning – Tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits depending on the speed and size of the movements. If your doctor recommends a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi, you may also need something more aerobic.