Still undecided on the benefits of Tai Chi? Consider the following facts:
Matters of the Heart
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the United States. “Tai Chi reduces some cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and dyslipidemia [an abnormal amount of lipids/fats in your blood]. Recent studies have also proved that Tai Chi is safe and effective for patients with myocardial infarction, coronary bypass surgery and heart failure.”
Tai chi participants reported significant improvements in: sleep quality, the onset of sleep, sleep duration, sleep efficiency and sleep disturbances.
Oh So Stressed!
“Learning to experience the world from a mindful, balanced place and exploring stress responses through meaningful meditative movement encourage proactive instead of reactive responses to perceived stress.”
“You can even practice the soothing mind-body concepts of tai chi without performing the actual movements when you are in a stressful situation, such as a traffic jam or a tense work meeting, for instance” – Mayo Clinic
Take a Deep Breath…
“Studies have shown better respiratory function in Tai Chi practioners compared to those who are sedentary. What’s more, Tai Chi appears to slow the loss of respiratory function in older adults over time in studies up to five years long.”
“Many people consider Tai Chi to be a leisure activity, and participating in leisure activities has been associated with enhanced cognitive function in the elderly. Studies show that those who participate in leisure activities that involve thinking…[such as Tai Chi]…have reduced rates of memory decline.”
Skip the Solitude
Numerous studies note the social benefits of Tai Chi. Tai Chi classes offer opportunities to make new friends, network and develop a sense of community. In fact, just the perception of increased social support has been shown to improve a person’s well-being. Group classes like Tai Chi increase the perception of social support.
“Pain Insists Upon being Attended to. ” – C.S. Lewis
Pain affects your ability to sleep and is associated with insomnia. Pain medications can be addictive and may disrupt sleep. Tai Chi helps improve musculoskeletal pain and improves the range of motion in the neck and back. “Reduced pain and more relaxed sleeping postures may contribute to improved sleep seen in Tai Chi studies.
I think I’m Falling!
The only falling you should be doing is falling in love. Tai Chi reduces falls and fall-related injuries, especially in the elderly. The fear of falling prevents many older adults from having active, independent lives. Tai Chi addresses the physical deficiencies that cause falls as well as the fearful mentality allowing for a richer and fuller lifestyle.
What doesn’t Kill You…
…makes you stronger. However, you don’t have to work out that hard to increase your strength! Several studies have shown that Tai Chi increases your musculoskeletal strength, but is low-impact and gentle enough for those of us that aren’t looking to star in the next Jean Claude Van Damme ad (watch his incredible feat here). Increased strength allows you to be firm on your feet which reduces falls and related injuries.
Supermodel, mother and wife of Tom Brady, Giselle Bundchen, relies on Tai Chi to keep relaxed and maintain her figure. She even practiced Tai Chi while pregnant.
Now that you’ve seen just a few of the benefits of Tai Chi, what are you waiting for?
Wayne, Peter, and Mark Fuerst. The Harvard medical school guide to tai chi: 12 weeks to a healthy body, strong heart, and sharp mind. Boston: Shambhala, 2013. Print.