Tai Chi: The Gentle Path To A Healthier Life
We all want to live happier and healthier lives. That’s why we join gyms, exercise, swim, run, and watch what we eat. But aside from the more obvious sports and activities that help keep us active and youthful, there are some that are slightly less well-known (but just as effective). Tai Chi, though incredibly popular in the far East, is one such activity.
Developed in 13th Century China as a martial art, Tai Chi offers a gentle route to physical balance and health.
And here’s a secret: practising Tai Chi on a regular basis can not only improve your physical health but also your psychological wellbeing.
So here’s a brief overview of some of the reasons to consider adopting Tai Chi into your lifestyle.
Tai Chi: the martial art for everyone
Due to its incredibly low-impact nature, Tai Chi is suitable for almost anyone. Young or old, active or inactive. Its movements are slow and subtle, and its focus is more on balance, flexibility, and wellbeing rather than aerobic fitness or strength.
That said, Tai Chi is perfect for older exercisers. Especially those who haven’t engaged in any physical activity for a long time. Also, anyone who wishes to become more active but, for whatever reason, is unable to participate in more strenuous activities. Tai Chi could provide a solution.
As an exercise, it’s easy-going on the joints, and very laid back in terms of physical output.
Another fantastic benefit of Tai Chi is its ability to improve physical balance. The slow, controlled movements performed in this activity promote stability in the core. Also, the combination of leg and arm movements help to develop and improve coordination.
One major advantage to developing better balance is the reduced risk of falling that comes with it. As a result, it can also serve to build confidence, especially in elderly participants who may be more likely to suffer from trips and falls.
As a species, we do a lot of sitting. We sit down to eat our breakfast. We sit down to drive to work. Many of us sit at desks for 8 or more hours a day. Then we come home and sit down to eat dinner and watch TV. But research is now revealing the alarming and potentially catastrophic health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
Of the many negative side effects, one is bad posture. And a remedy for bad posture is Tai Chi.
Tai Chi is incredibly focussed on stance and movement. And in order to perform the movements correctly, you must first adopt the proper stance and hold the correct posture. So over time, practising Tai Chi may not only help combat the negative effects of sitting, but may improve your general posture. Also, Tai Chi will have you up and moving for an hour or two when you might otherwise have been at home sitting down.
Stress is a major 21st Century issue. And though it affects people throughout the world, it’s estimated that nearly half of British people suffer from long-term stress. We live faster, busier, more hectic lives today than ever before. And engaging in exercise to reduce stress and promote physiological harmony should be a top priority for all of us.
A popular reason for practising Tai Chi is its inherent stress-reducing qualities. Its mellow nature, along with the required deep breathing and rhythmic movements, can induce feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. In essence, it’s a moving form of meditation.
This makes Tai Chi a perfect candidate for a post-work de-stressing ritual. It provides a drastic shift in pace, encouraging us to go slow and be mindful of ourselves.
If Tai Chi sounds like your kind of activity, or if you’re just curious to learn more, why not come along to one of our classes? Jesmond Pool offers Tai Chi sessions twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more information on times and prices, visit our Tai Chi page.