Often practiced as a form of low-impact aerobic exercise, Tai Chi involves a series of graceful movements. The ancient Chinese tradition is performed in a slow and continual manner as the body stretches and practitioners focus on deep breathing. This non-combative martial art allows people to perform the physical elements at their own pace as each traditional posture flows into the next.
There are many styles of Tai Chi, and each emphasizes certain common principles and techniques. Some schools of thought tailor the practice toward physical health, others mindfulness, and yet others focus on martial arts strategies. However, they all provide significant health and wellness benefits when practiced regularly.
Who Can Practice Tai Chi?
Because Tai Chi requires only minimal exertion and does not involve the physical contact associated with self-defense training, a wide range of people can practice the art form. Tai Chi tends to be safe for children, adults, and our valued elders. People with health conditions and physical limitations can work with a martial arts instructor to create a suitable specialized program.
Pregnant women can usually practice Tai Chi to help maintain physical fitness and flexibility.
Those with conditions such as arthritis, back problems, and osteoporosis may be suitable Tai Chi candidates. This is why many seniors choose Tai Chi as their form of exercise.
However, it’s crucial to consult with a physician before participating in Tai Chi or any activity that could potentially worsen a health condition.
Top Health & Wellness Benefits of Tai Chi
Often described as a type of “meditation in motion,” it may also prove accurate to refer to Tai Chi as “medication in motion.” Researchers have accumulated a growing body of evidence that supports the mind-body practice delivering health and wellness benefits. These include the following:
- Muscular Strength: The regular practice of Tai Chi helps to strengthen muscles. Lower body muscle groups experience resistance comparable to a brisk walk. Extending the arms in steady movements is akin to swimming, without water resistance. The abdominal region generally flexes and stretches during sessions.
- Improved Balance: Studies indicate that Tai Chi helps reduce hard-impact falls. The ability to sense one’s physical position in a given space declines with age. Exercise regimens such as Tai Chi reinforce this innate function that scientists agree emanates from the inner ear. Stretching and conditioning the muscle used for balance and mobility also help people recover from trips and slips.
- Cardiovascular Conditioning: This low-impact aerobic activity remains an effective way for our valued elders and people with physical limitations to exercise. It’s important to check with a physician to make sure Tai Chi is a suitable option.
- Weight Loss: Exercise burns calories and Tai Chi, coupled with an appropriate low-calorie diet, can help everyday people lose weight and stay fit.
- Pain Relief: Studies conclude that practicing Tai Chi over 12 weeks resulted in reduced pain and stress. Researchers also found that Tai Chi practitioners enjoyed more positive results than those engaged in traditional American aerobics.
- Mood Improvement: Tai Chi has proven to be an excellent mindfulness resource. Repeated studies support findings that it enhances psychological well-being. Research also indicates incorporating the practice into daily routines helps reduce stress and depression.
- Immune System Boost: American health journals attribute Tai Chi regimens to antibody improvement, T-cell response, and increased bone density in some cases.
- Cognitive Function: Studies of people who consistently practiced Tai Chi for six weeks found they scored significantly higher on cognitive examinations when compared to control groups. The research indicates that Tai Chi benefits seniors without cognitive conditions.
- Healthy Sleep Cycles: Adults between the ages of 18 and 40 years old reportedly saw marked improvement in their sleep patterns during a 10-week Tai Chi program.
Studies also conclude that people who regularly practice the discipline enjoy greater energy.
Scientists noticed a reduction in both physical and emotional fatigue when people engaged in Tai Chi for a minimum of five, one-hour sessions.
How to Get Started Practicing Tai Chi
This particular martial art discipline does not require specialized equipment or gear. A local Dojo may encourage students to wear the loose-fitting traditional Gi common to martial arts schools. Although there are a wide range of YouTube and instructional videos available, everyday people are best served by practicing Tai Chi with a certified instructor. For more information about Tai Chi and other programs, contact United Studios of Self Defense in Vancouver.
Contact USSD Vancouver
The United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self defense and martial arts: Tai-Chi, Kung Fu, and Shaolin Kempo. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children.
Contact us today to learn more about our martial arts programs or to set up a time to visit one of our classes in person. Our instructors work with students at every age and stage of martial arts development and are dedicated to helping you cultivate self defense skills that meet your goals and make you feel great about yourself.
"*" indicates required fields