Tai chi is a physical and meditative form of exercise with roots in ancient China that consists of slow, gentle movement of your arms and legs, a meditative mindset and controlled breathing.
It’s strongly associated with older adults and has healthful benefits for everyone.
The mindfulness required to execute tai chi’s slow but constant movement while maintaining proper breathing patterns helps focus your mind away from worrying about the past or future and keeping your attention centered in the present moment. This trains your mind to keep doing this after a tai chi session, benefitting your everyday response to issues or problems that come up.
It’s also been shown to alleviate depression for some people, likely due to the same factors.
Balance and coordination
Tai chi’s low-impact movements still challenge and improve your stability with its frequent shifting between legs and arm movements.
Working to master its form forces you to control and monitor which muscles you’re using as well as strengthening them, both crucial to improving your balance. This is a big reason why it’s recommended so frequently for seniors hoping to prevent falls.
Devoting time to honing these skills throughout your life can pay off as you get older.
Tai chi isn’t as vigorous as running or an aerobics class but still contributes to your heart health, according to numerous studies, though more research is needed. Some of the most consistent findings have to do with its association with reduced blood pressure, with the improvement described as modest to significant.
It’s been linked to reduced triglycerides, blood sugar, cholesterol and other markers of heart health, possibly though encouraging people to increase overall physical activity.
Chronic pain in your lower back and from osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and other illnesses could improve after participating in tai chi classes one or more times weekly over the course of three to four months or even a year.
Its combination of physical training and mental discipline is believed to reduce people’s perception of their pain while gradually strengthening muscles that may be affected.