Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that was originally created for self-defense. It's now touted to be a gentle but effective form of exercise that is particularly helpful in reducing stress. It's often described as "meditation in motion," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Tai Chi is a low impact form of exercise that you can do anywhere and anytime, say experts. You don't need any equipment and you can easily learn the techniques online from taking a course such as the one offered by Harvard University. The Introduction to Tai Chi online video course teaches you how to get started, including a breakdown of the poses and breathing techniques that promote relaxation. You can also find tai chi classes at most recreation centers and in some health clubs.
Here are some of the health benefits of Tai Chi, according to Healthline:
- Reduces stress. Researchers found that the meditation and focused breathing of tai chi may be superior to other forms of exercise for reducing stress and anxiety.
- Improves mood. Experts say that the slow, mindful breaths and movements have a positive effect on the nervous system.
- Better sleep. In a study of young adults troubled by anxiety, the participants took two tai chi classes each week for 10 weeks and experienced significant improvement in their quality of sleep compared to the control group. Researchers have also found that tai chi also helps older adults with better sleep, according to Healthline.
- Improves balance and strength in people with Parkinson's. Tai chi has been found to reduce the number of falls in people who have Parkinson's disease. It's also excellent for anyone who wants to improve their balance.
- Reduces the pain from arthritis. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health revealed that people who practiced tai chi for three months reported less pain and improved mobility and balance.
- Reduces the risk of falling in older adults. Falling can be especially dangerous or seniors and can lead to debilitating complications. Tai chi is the perfect exercise to help regain balance skills safely and easily, which can improve the quality of life and sense of general well-being in older adults.
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