Scientists are constantly discovering more and more exciting benefits of Tai Chi. The most recent study was published in the journal, Cell Transplantation and concluded that people who practice Tai Chi have more of the cells (CD34+) responsible for the renewal, proliferation (rapid growth and multiplication) and cell differentiation (specialization) of your body. Cell renewal, proliferation and differentiation are the key to keeping your body in prime working order. Therefore, the fact that it improves this process means Tai Chi may make you live longer.
When we get older, majority of our health and problems and our eventual death are tied to the fact that our cells are not produced any more, are older, dead and or damaged. For example, as we get older our body reabsorbs the cells that form the structure of our bones faster than the body is able to generate new bones. As a result, we end up with decreased bone density and are more prone to fractures. Theoretically, if our body continued to produce those cells at the same rate as it did when we were younger, we would not suffer from an age-related decrease in bone density.
Another example has to do with our brain health. The growth and multiplication of brain cells involved in thinking and memory slows down as we get older. This may lead to some memory loss and even Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Once again, if we could continue to grow and multiply those brain cells, perhaps we would not have those cognitive problems. Therefore, if we can reverse or prevent the aging and destruction of our cells, we can theoretically prevent a host of diseases, disorders and even death.
The study published in Cell Transplantation assigned 32 participants to a Tai Chi group, brisk walking group and a group that had no fixed exercise habit (no exercise). The Tai Chi and brisk walking groups had been participating in their respective activities for at least one year, for at least 2.5 hours a week or more. The researchers measured the levels of the CD34+ cells in blood of the participants in each of the groups.
The results showed that the Tai Chi group had significantly higher CD34+ levels than the no exercise group. Therefore, practicing Tai Chi for a few hours a week for about a year may increase your CD34+ count. Since CD34+ is responsible for growth and renewal, having more of it may mean you will feel younger much longer!