What is Tai Chi and what are Tai Chi benefits? 8 Reasons why you should try it
If you have ever visited China or Hong Kong, when you look out of your hotel window in the morning, you will see lots and lots of people doing, what would appear to be, a very slow and deliberate dance in the open air. This is Tai Chi – a form of internal martial art, now practiced more for its health and mental wellbeing benefits, than it is for self-defense. Tai Chi combines, slow and deliberate movements, controlled breathing techniques and spiritual focus that provide a whole range of health benefits, so here are eight reasons that you should try Tai Chi:
1. Tai Chi calms you down
One of the Tai Chi benefits is that it calms you down. Tai Chi is a form of mediation, as well as exercise. The movements and postures that you adopt are designed to focus your mind, as well as strengthen the body. When you watch someone practicing Tai Chi, you can see the level of concentration and calmness in their faces and they seem perfectly at ease with themselves.
2. Tai Chi sharpens your mind
Research has shown that people who practice Tai Chi have a sharper and more focussed mind, than those who don’t. The high level of concentration and focus, needed for the art, makes you feel grounded and helps train your brain and has actually been shown to massively improve your concentration and focus, as well as give you the peace of mind.
3. Tai Chi gives you more energy
One of the popular Tai Chi benefits is that it gives you more energy. Traditional Chinese medicine states that energy in the body is channelled through pathways or meridians. If these channels become blocked, then that can lead to tiredness and illness. The movements and postures of Tai Chi are designed to remove blockages in these channels and allow the life energy or ‘Qi’ to flow freely.
4. The benefits of Tai Chi are backed by science
If you are thinking that Tai Chi might just be a bit of oriental myth, then think again. Tai Chi benefits are proven by science. In a medical study, adults suffering with knee osteoarthritis were able to reduce pain and improve joint movement by practicing Tai Chi every other week and in a study carried out in Ireland, Tai Chi was even proven to help people suffering with depression and anxiety.
5. It improves your cardiovascular and respiratory systems
Tai Chi benefits include improving your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Unlike running, for example, Tai Chi does not increase your heart rate, it decreases it. It does, however, still provide the benefit of increasing the blood flow through your body and it increases the levels of oxygen in your bloodstream.
6. Helps you lose weight and stay fit
Tai Chi benefits also include weight control. Even though Tai Chi will not leave you in a sweat and panting for breath, it will burn calories and tone your muscles. In fact, if it does make you sweat and pant, then you’re doing something wrong, but do it right and you will lose around 400 calories per hour and you will tone your muscles and improve your joint movement.
7. Tai Chi relieves headaches, stress and insomnia
Tai Chi helps get your body and mind back into balance and alleviates stress, as well as related symptoms. The meditative nature of Tai Chi helps to calm down and focus your mind and the movements remove the blockages in the flow of energy around your body.
8. Tai Chi gives you longevity and is easy to learn
Tai Chi is now quite widely practiced and you can find classes at many health clubs, community venues and fitness centers. Most people do recommend taking classes, as it makes learning more fun, but you can also look at some Youtube videos, IPad apps or buy DVD’s and books that will teach you. If you ever need an incentive to take up Tai Chi, take a look at some of the more elderly Chinese people, who do it and ask yourself, if you will be able to hold those positions, when you are in your seventies!
The list of Tai Chi benefits is very long. Have you ever tried doing Tai Chi? Please, share your thoughts in the comment section.
Stay happy and healthy!