Tai chi originated in ancient China and is a form of art and exercise that incorporates the mind, body, and spirit. It was originally developed as a form of self-defence but is now most frequently used to reduce negative health conditions by combining physical exercise, stretching, and mindfulness. Supporters of tai chi describe it as “meditation in motion”. When practiced consistently, tai chi can improve balance, physical strength, endurance, agility, and provide individuals with a better overall mental state. It is performed in slow, focused movements in conjunction with deep and concentrated breathing. There are many different types of tai chi, and there are variations within each style but overall it is very easy to learn.
Research involving the health benefits of tai chi is still ongoing but numerous studies have already been done. Studies have shown that possible health benefits of tai chi include the improvement of muscular strength, cognitive function, quality of sleep, and cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, it can help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. It has also been known to improve symptoms of COPD and fibromyalgia, as well as improving longevity.
Because tai chi is low-impact and puts very little stress on muscles and joints, it’s safe for all ages. It is found to be exceptionally beneficial for older adults who may have difficulty exercising and can also help them improve balance to prevent falls. It can be practiced alone or in a group and can be done virtually anywhere as it requires no special equipment. Although tai chi is a generally safe form of exercise, it is recommended that pregnant women or those with health or joint problems consult a physician before attempting.
Like other forms of physical activity, the best results are seen when practiced long-term. Tai chi classes are a great place to start, seeking help from an instructor will help you grasp techniques and see benefits faster. Instructors are able to teach you about breathing techniques, and positions. They are also highly recommended if you have injuries or other problems that may jeopardize your safety – when performed incorrectly, some techniques could possibly cause injury. Tai chi instructors are not required to be licensed or to obtain formal training so it is wise to speak to an instructor to determine their past training and experience beforehand.
Tai chi and yoga are alike but not the same. They share many of the same health benefits and components. The main difference between the two comes down to how they’re executed. Yoga involves holding poses and postures while tai chi involves dance-like, martial arts movements.