Tai Chi is excellent at strengthening the joints and gently stretching muscles and tendons. It trains you to become more aware of where you your body is precisely and how the parts of your body interconnect. This gradual strengthening of the body and improved body awareness is a perfect mixture to improve your balance. Indeed studies have shown that Tai Chi can prevent falls and is even recommended by the NHS for falls prevention.
Tai Chi’s roots are in the Martial Arts and so it is very much a complete body workout. There are many levels to this and while most people prefer the steady slow level it can also be practiced in a very dynamic fashion. It exercises every part of the body from the internal organs to the tips of the fingers. It is low impact but produces a steady calorie burn while practicing – similar to a brisk walk. Remember also that Tai Chi can be practiced almost anywhere so you are more likely to practice it than exercises that require special equipment or locations. Tai Chi is a great mind exercise too and unlike most exercise routines is never boring.
Tai Chi gently exercises the whole body improving circulation. This helps to free up the joints and improve their mobility. It also improves energy levels and develops good posture. All of this has been recognised as beneficial in the fight against arthritis. Indeed all the main arthritis organisations in the UK recommend Tai Chi as a treatment for arthritis.
Regular Tai Chi practice can improve bone health. Studies have shown that Tai Chi can help fight conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease in post-menopausal women. Tai Chi is a weight bearing exercise and as such will help improve bone density.
Regular Tai Chi has been shown to improve the metabolism and immunity of people with Type 2 diabetes. Studies in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that even 12 weeks practice was enough to boost the immune system and reduce blood sugar levels.
Stress and Anxiety
Studies in the US & Australia have shown that Tai Chi can reduce levels of stress and hypertension (high blood pressure). It lowers the amounts of our stress hormone (cortisol). Tai Chi has been shown to improve levels of attention and alertness. It manages to calm the mind and energise the body, reduce anxiety and even improve self-esteem.