TAI CHI

Posted on May 20, 2020 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

What is tai chi?

Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements. Originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, tai chi is now practiced around the world as a health-promoting exercise. Although an art with a great depth of knowledge and skill, it can be easy to learn and will soon deliver some health benefits. As an art embracing the mind, body and spirit, it continues as a lifetime journey.

What are the health benefits of tai chi?

While there is scope for more rigorous research on tai chi’s health benefits, studies have shown that it can help people aged 65 and over to reduce stress, improve posture, balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs. Flexibility exercises enable people to move more easily, and facilitates circulation of body fluids and blood, thus enhancing healing.  Fitness is important for overall functioning of the heart, lungs and muscles. In addition to these components, tai chi movements emphasize weight transference to improve balance and prevents falls.

Tai chi is a mind-body practice and remains today the most common form of exercise for adults in China. In addition to the much-researched benefits for reduced mortality from moderate-intensity exercise, such as you get from regular walking and jogging, researchers found the first evidence that tai chi also promotes longevity. The greatest benefit from tai chi was obtained from those who self-reported engaging in the practice for 5-6 hours per week.

Although the fact is that cognitive decline is prevalent among older adults, it need not be considered a foregone conclusion. Nor should getting older need be synonymous with cognitive decline. A growing body of evidence points to the benefits to older adults from the practice of tai chi in the areas of global cognitive and memory functions, especially in verbal working memory. A meta-analysis found agreement with the findings of numerous studies on the benefits to cognitive function from physical exercise, and researchers recommended tai chi as an alternative mind-body exercise to improve older adults’ cognitive functioning.

Can tai chi help to prevent falls?

Some research suggests tai chi can reduce the risk of falls among older adults who are at increased risk.  Falling in adults aged 65 and older is significantly associated with the loss of independence and premature mortality. The movements of tai chi require people to move in all directions, while the traditional exercise programs focus on forward and backward motion. The reality of how falls happen tends to be quite varied and a bit unpredictable. In tai chi, the movements are in multiple planes. You are moving your body outside of your center of gravity and then you are pulling it back. There is a lot of postural responses. If you accidentally start to fall, if you had been trained in tai chi, you would probably be better at starting to counteract that movement and regain your balance.

 

Can tai chi help with arthritis?

There is some evidence that tai chi can improve mobility in the ankles, hips and knees in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Tai chi may elicit behavioral responses by activating the neuroendocrine and autonomic functioning and navigating the neurochemical and analgesic pathways, which in turn may modulate the inflammatory response of the immune system and modify the susceptibility to the chronic pain.

Is tai chi good in preventing the onset of osteoporosis?

Studies have looked into the potential benefits of tai chi for people with osteoporosis. Tai chi slows down the loss of bone mineral density by approximately three fold. People who practice tai chi regularly have higher bone mineral density and have better flexibility, muscle strength and balance.

Am I too old for tai chi?

No; tai chi is commonly performed as a low-impact exercise, which means it would not put much pressure on your bones and joints. Most people should be able to do it.

Is tai chi suitable for me?

Get the advice from your doctor before starting tai chi if you have any health concerns or an existing health condition. You may need to take certain precautions if you are pregnant, have a hernia, back pain or severe osteoporosis.

Don’t I need to be fit to do tai chi?

No; tai chi is for everyone. It is ideal for inactive older people wanting to raise their activity levels gently and gradually. Also, many of the tai chi movements can be adapted to people with a disability, including wheelchair users.

Can I injure myself doing tai chi?

Tai chi is essentially a gentle activity that is unlikely to cause injury if done correctly. The exercises involve lots of flowing, easy movements that do not stress the joints or muscles.

Tips on getting started

It is a good idea to watch a class or attend a free taster session before signing up for a course. If you have a medical condition or any health concerns, or have not exercised for a long time, speak to your doctor before you start tai chi.

Are there different styles of tai chi?

Yes, such as yang, chen and wu. Some teachers often practice a combination of styles. The main differences between the different tai chi styles are in the speed of movement and the way the body holds the postures.

What is the basic technique?

Tai chi is characterized by its slow, graceful, continuous movements that are gentle on the joints and muscles. Done correctly, you will find that the tai chi poses flow smoothly from one into another. Many movements are completed with bent knees in a squat-like position.

As usual, we remind you to take your Memo Plus Gold daily. It will help to keep you alert and mentally sharp.Natural memory enhancer