Tai chi is a form of exercise that improves the flow of energy through the body. It helps to promote the balance of opposing universal energy forces–yin and yang–that act on and throughout the mind and body.
Tai chi has origins in Chinese martial arts tradition. Its purpose is to integrate the mind, body, and spirit through deep breathing and slow, controlled movements. In addition to bringing harmony to the inner and outer self, or life force, tai chi has other tangible health benefits including, but not limited to–
The slow, deliberate movements that characterize tai chi improve balance, flexibility, and muscle strength. Strong bodies resist falling and loss of balance better.
Improved Cognitive Ability
The focus and attention to movement required to perform tai chi have been shown to improve cognitive function like memory and attention span in older adults.
Tai chi as a form of exercise is as effective at relieving stress and anxiety as other forms of exercise. The act of deep breathing has meditative qualities that tend to improve mood and lower stress levels.
Mild Aerobic Conditioning
Tai chi offers a light aerobic exercise to individuals who are otherwise sedentary. Deep breathing increases the oxygen levels in the blood, and coordinated movement improves blood flow to the heart and around the body. Thus, the focused breathing and skilled movement in tai chi result in a mild cardiovascular workout that promotes heart health.
Overall Improved Quality of Life
In general, tai chi participants have reported improvements in their overall health and well-being. When they practice tai chi regularly, they often experience improvements in lung function, mood, flexibility, stamina, and more.
In summary, tai chi is a comprehensive mind and body workout that can be practiced for a lifetime. Since its origins in Chinese martial arts, tai chi has been adapted into a form of exercise practiced worldwide that balances mind, body, and spirit. Its benefits are particularly restorative for aging adults. However, tai chi can improve the lifestyle of anyone at any age.