If you have ever spent any time in a big city park, you may have noticed a large group of people of varying ages, moving in slow and synchronized movements. These movements are beautiful and interesting; almost like a dance. Would you be surprised to find out that it is a martial art? This ancient martial art is called Tai Chi, and it has been practiced in Asian countries for centuries. Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion”, but the actual translation is “breath work”. Because it emphasizes breathing deeply while moving in a continuous flow. The mystery that is Tai Chi was started in Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, where the monks would practice it daily; before they started their chores. Over time, it has come to the United States, and it is now being practiced in parks, gyms, recreation centers, and homes.
Tai Chi may not look like a high impact workout. However, when you combine the concentrated movements, focused breathing, and a series of motions without pausing you will find that you are getting a burn similar to a Yoga workout; without all the different positions. The practice of Tai Chai has shown great results in the improvement of one’s health and fitness. The beauty of practicing Tai Chi is, you can start at any phase in your life. Tai Chi does not require you to be in top shape, but it does require taking that first step and breath.
It is so easy to pick up and so adaptable; I have seen it adapted and practiced by people with some of the most complicated of situations. Whether you want to do it seated, because you are starting out, or you are confined to a wheelchair; Tai Chi is something that you can do.
I have seen people who have recently had surgery using it for rehabilitation without fear of reinjuring themselves. I have seen senior citizens do it daily in their care facilities to keep them mobile, combating the issues that come with age.
The benefits of Tai Chi are immense, with multiple benefits. It will increase and improve your balance; for older people this means less falling, which means less fear of being left alone. For younger people, it will improve their performance in sports and dance.
You will also see an increase in muscle strength in the lower and upper body. When practiced regularly, Tai Chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking. It will also strengthen your core muscles; which is the center of all movement. It will prolong the quality of life that we all hope to have in our lives: more time spent enjoying fun with our loved ones.
You will also see an increase in your flexibility when you do your slow motion stretches. An increase in flexibility will reduce the occurrence of chronic skeletal conditions. There will be a decrease in arthritis, bone cancer, weak bones, fibromyalgia These conditions have typically been associated with older people, but we are seeing an increase among younger people who are not as active as they were 15-20 years ago.
You will see an improvement in your mood, lower levels of depression, and you will be able to handle stressful situations in a more productive way. When stress is lowered, you have lower blood pressure which means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and that improves heart health. Heart health is one of the easiest things to avoid when you take all of the steps to keep it in prime working condition.
It will also help those who must deal with diabetes, by regulating their blood glucose levels and immune response system from people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate due to the poor quality of food, lack of exercise, and eating unhealthily. There isn’t a need to suffer through this illness, and when you are given the chance to avoid the previously mentioned bad habits, you should.
There are all types of people in the world and all types of exercise, but these exercises might not be good for everyone. However, with the ancient martial art of Tai Chi, anyone will be able to enjoy the benefits of Tai Chi. A healthier world means a happier world, and that is what we all want.