Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art that emphasizes meditation. Over the years, Tai Chi has spread far outside of China. The technique of Tai Chi integrates mind and body, promotes well being and good health. Like many diet, health and fitness practices, Tai Chi is more of a preventive means than it is a cure. Here are some of Tai Chi’s other benefits.

Increases Balance

Tai Chi exercise movements are very coordinated. Over time, it will help increase your balance. Balance is important in activities like sports. Uncoordinated movements can cause injury and often, we get hurt, not because of the impact of the fall but because of falling in a bad position.

Strengthens the legs and lower body muscles and ligaments

Because of Tai Chi’s graceful and coordinated movements, even a few minutes of Tai Chi can do wonders for your legs and lower body. Many of Tai Chi’s movements require you to keep your legs bent in certain demanding positions. You will gradually become used to the demanding legs and lower body positions because they are strengthened over time.

Increases Flexibility

Tai Chi involves stretching and being flexible. Tai Chi has movements and positions that require certain muscles to work while others have to be relaxed. The more flexible you get, the easier it is for you to do the Tai Chi dance. As with any exercise, always stretch before and after your Tai Chi exercise.

Relieves Stress

There is more to stress than we think. Stress causes muscles to become tense. That is because we translate our negative thoughts into negative body language. Many illnesses are caused by stress. Practicing Tai Chi reduces stress levels and relaxes shoulder and neck muscles, and also the entire body.

Better breathing

Oxygen intake is increased when you are breathing properly. Oxygen is needed by the brain and body to function well. In Tai Chi, breathing is more abdominal, thus helping your diaphragm contract more and increase your lung’s capacity to take in air. Because Tai Chi has a focus on meditation, you use your lung’s full capacity to breathe in, in contrast to taking faster and smaller breaths.

Improves quality of sleep

One of the causes why you sleep bad is bad breathing. Improved breathing means better sleep. Stress is also another factor to bad sleep. We’ve already seen how Tai Chi improves breathing and relieves stress.

Tai Chi also helps you discipline your mind and learn how to avoid trying to solve problems in your sleep. Tai Chi helps you become more relaxed come bedtime. Better sleep means better recovery from work and fatigue.

Reduces blood pressure

Studies have found that Tai Chi reduces systolic blood pressure. This is because Tai Chi is an aerobic exercise, and aerobic exercises help you accumulate less ‘bad’ cholesterol and strengthen your heart.

Increases stamina and immune system

Just like your body gets accustomed to demanding exercises, your body also body also build its stamina when it gets accustomed to fighting fatigue strengthening your will. And since Tai Chi is a low impact aerobic exercise, you can practice it daily without it taking its toll on your body.

Influences mood

Relief from stress (relaxed muscles), proper breathing all contribute to help you enjoy life and have a positive outlook. Tai Chi reflects on your mood and makes you more patient, less irritable and generally helps you enjoy the simple things in life.

Develops self awareness and concentration

Since Tai Chi is an aerobic exercise with a focus on meditation (integration of body and mind), it requires concentration. You achieve concentration by developing self awareness through Tai Chi’s exercise movements.

Lack of concentration makes any job appear twice as hard, thus we lose much more energy. Good concentration on the other hand makes things appear less difficult, thus it is less taxing on the body and mind. Concentration is an aid for all around health of the mind and body.