If you’ve been told to move more and try gentle stretches, then you might be interested in Tai Chi. Tai Chi has a plethora of benefits, such as improving mobility, flexibility, sleep, and decreasing stress. But it can also help restore your mind-body connection and take your meditation practice to a whole new level.
The different forms of Tai Chi are all about precision, balance, and good coordination. To make the most of the health benefits, you need a teacher. They can give you detailed, personal feedback, correct your form, and make sure you are taught the right movements.
Here is what Tai Chi can offer for your overall health.
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What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a form of physical activity that combines stretching and gentle physical exercise with mindfulness. This is a system of calisthenics. It consists of five main styles: Sun, Wu, Hao, Chen, and Yang. They share many similarities and sequences of controlled and slow movements.
Although it first originated in China as a form of martial arts, it also has its uses in boosting the quality of life and mental well-being, and preventing a number of health problems in older adults. This practice is very popular among the younger generation. But it can also be used as a form of relaxation for seniors.
5 Health Benefits Of Tai Chi
There is a growing amount of research about the advantages of practicing Tai Chi. The benefits are often the greatest when you have a functional limitation or are trying to improve your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. Here is a quick look at 5 benefits of Tai Chi that are worth the effort.
1. Improves Mobility
Tai Chi can improve lower and upper-body mobility. You can use it to keep the joints mobile and curb stiffness.
According to a recent study, Tai Chi exercises were beneficial for boosting functional mobility and balance in people with Parkinson’s disease. It can be used to enhance balance performance and reduce the risk of falls.
These benefits of Tai Chi for seniors suggest that older adults can use this practice to remain stable, mobile, and strong enough to do their daily activities.
Another small-scale study showed similar results. Experts analyzed what happened to people with rheumatoid arthritis who practiced Tai Chi. Other than improving their ability to move, balance, and posture, Tai Chi also curbed the pain.
At the end of the study, participants were asked to rate their pain scale from 0 to 10. Those who performed Tai Chi rated their pain 2.15 points lower compared to the control group. While those who didn’t practice Tai Chi didn’t notice a notable improvement.
2. Enhances Flexibility
Tai Chi teaches you to focus on particular muscles and movements. These are muscles that you would rarely use if you weren’t practicing Tai Chi. For example, the movements start in the hips, then flow out of the hips and into the rest of the joints. This increases circulation, thus boosting your flexibility.
As you continue to practice, the flexibility in the legs increases, and your balance and coordination continue to improve.
Based on 2021 reviews, there are numerous benefits of Tai Chi for young adults. It can improve physical fitness, postural balance, handgrip strength, and standing time in a one-leg stance. These advantages can come in handy for fitness enthusiasts or those who do competitive sports.
3. Reduces Stress
Think of Tai Chi as a form of meditation with movement. Just like any other exercise, Tai Chi can reduce stress. A systematic review shows that Tai Chi can provide positive effects on psychological well-being. It can reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and mood disturbance.
It can also prove useful for enhancing self-esteem. But, there are specific mental benefits of Tai Chi that set it apart from other physical activities. For example, this practice teaches you how to twist, rotate, and stretch your ligaments and tendons.
The motions and sequences are sufficiently complex that you have no other choice but to focus on your posture, flow, and balance. This helps distract the mind and calm the body. Also, the exercises themselves teach you how to relax the muscles and loosen the joints.
You relax for a couple of minutes by taking deep breaths and then consciously and gently stretch the joints. This, in itself, helps offer notable stress-reduction properties.
4. Promotes Sleep
You can use Tai Chi to get quality sleep. Since this practice stimulates the flow of Qi, it can relax the body and restore balance. The different motions, stretches, and deep breathing exercises can help you create a relaxed readiness for a good night’s rest.
In a randomized clinical trial, researchers evaluated 320 older adults who used both Tai Chi and standard exercise to improve sleep. Participants experienced a modest improvement in sleep parameters.
Compared to the control group, the participants who practiced Tai Chi and exercise experienced better sleep efficiency and were less likely to have interrupted sleep. These findings suggest that Tai Chi could be a viable option for managing insomnia.
5. Strengthens The Immune System
With age, the immune function becomes less nimble. So, it is important to take the necessary precautions to boost immunity. Many studies suggest that Tai Chi can have a positive impact on the immune system and its response to inflammation.
Physical activity and meditation play a key role in supporting normal immune function and curbing inflammation. The movements and stretches have elixir-like qualities. When paired with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, you can experience some substantial advantages of Tai Chi.
By practicing Tai Chi, you improve diffusion, blood oxygen saturation, and oxygen metabolism. You are using controlled, deep breathing strategies that can calm the mind and prepare the body for more exercises and stretching.
Not only can the practice help you get a shut-eye, but it can also zap the stress, thus creating the perfect opportunity to promote physical health. But, these Tai Chi benefits on the immune system don’t happen overnight. You have to practice movements and stretches and work on each motion with discipline and consistency.
Based on research, practicing Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks helped provide worthwhile improvement in physical function and common fibromyalgia symptoms. Tai Chi seems to be a safe exercise modality and can be used alongside other forms of therapy for fibromyalgia patients.
Tai Chi has a host of benefits. When you take your practice seriously, Tai Chi can become a valuable tool for boosting physical and mental health. People who often do these exercises experience a noteworthy reduction in stress, anxiety, and a better mood.
The stretches and movements can also prove useful for working on your mobility, flexibility, and quality of sleep. When used in the long run, this practice can play a pivotal role in building immunity. Thus, preparing the body for the road ahead.
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