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Tai Chi for Health

Tai chi consists of graceful, dance-like poses that are believed to reduce stress and enhance health. This form of exercise has its origins in ancient China. This article looks at the health benefits of practising tai chi.

What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is a low-impact exercise that can suit individuals of all age groups, whatever their current state of health. In fact, even those who hate exercise and lead a sedentary life can try tai chi. It is a calming, gentle exercise which can even be called mobile meditation. Tai chi teaches deep breathing, but there is no breathlessness or sweat.

Advantages of Tai Chi
While practising tai chi, there is minimal stress on muscles and joints. Hence, you are not likely to experience injury or muscle soreness. Tai chi does not require any special clothing or equipment. It can be performed anywhere, anytime, in a group or alone. You need to pay to learn the technique, but after that you can practise tai chi at home, without paying another cent.

Research on Tai Chi
Research reveals that tai chi promotes better balance, thereby preventing falls. It can also reduce blood pressure, relieve pain and improve immunity. Recently, a study was conducted at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center on the effect of tai chi on patients suffering from debilitating fibromyalgia, a complex pain syndrome. The research found that tai chi reduced fatigue and pain and improved the affected patients’ movements, sleep and physical functions.

Tai Chi is a Stress Reducer
Tai chi is undoubtedly a great stress buster. Relaxing activity of this kind can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, enhance mood and improve cardiovascular fitness. A research review published in 2008 revealed that tai chi reduced blood pressure in 22 out of 26 studies.

Tai chi’s stress-busting qualities can be used to treat depression, high blood pressure and heart disease. These are common conditions among the elderly, who may be unable to practise more demanding exercises. Regular tai chi practitioners reveal that they experience less stiffness and pain, feel healthier and sleep better.

Tai Chi is Ideal for the Elderly
Perhaps the most important benefit of tai chi for the elderly is that it can reduce the risk of falling, by improving balance even in old people. Tai chi moves are choreographed such that they can improve flexibility and muscle strength. This balances and coordinates the muscles in the hips and legs. Thus, tai chi practitioners can become more sure-footed and stable.

Learn From an Experienced Practitioner
It is advisable to learn tai chi from a qualified and experienced practitioner and avoid trying to copy the moves from a video or book. Gyms, Y.W.C.A.’s, and Y.M.C.A.’s teach tai chi. Attending a tai chi course for a few weeks is not enough. For lasting benefits, practise tai chi regularly to garner maximum value.

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