Tai chi has many physical and emotional benefits, but not everyone is familiar with the practice. Tai chi started out as a Chinese tradition, but it is now a popular form of exercise too. It has been associated with decreased anxiety and depression, improvements in brain functioning, and management of some chronic diseases, among other things. We’ll go over the top 10 benefits of Tai Chi below.
- Reduces stress. In addition to focused movements, tai chi also includes meditation and focused breathing. This is thought to be the reason for reduced stress and anxiety compared to traditional forms of exercise, although more research is still needed.
- Improves mood. Some research shows that practicing tai chi can reduce symptoms of depression and improve your overall mood. The slow, mindful breaths are thought to have a positive effect on the nervous system and the hormones that help to regulate your mood.
- Better sleep. Because of the connection to reduced stress and anxiety, it makes sense that tai chi could also help you to sleep better. Studies have found this is true both for younger and older adults.
- Promotes weight loss. Tai chi can help you to lose weight, and it is low impact and does not require any special equipment. It is safe for people with heart disease and joint issues, and it is fairly inexpensive and accessible, making it a great weight loss option for many people.
- Improves cognition in older adults. Older adults who have some sort of cognitive impairment may benefit from tai chi, as there is some research to suggest that this practice can help improve memory and executive functioning skills.
- Reduces fall risk. Tai chi is a great practice for older adults who are at risk of falling and injuring themselves. It helps to improve both your balance and motor function and can reduce your fear and risk of falling. Because falls and fear of falls can affect your independence, tai chi can help to improve your quality of life.
- Improves fibromyalgia symptoms. People with chronic diseases like fibromyalgia may benefit from tai chi practice compared to other forms of exercise. Research suggests consistent tai chi practice was able to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms in some people, compared to other exercises.
- Improves COPD symptoms. People with another chronic disease, COPD, may benefit from tai chi as well. Research has shown that people who practiced tai chi consistently were able to see improvements in their ability to exercise and an improvement in their quality of life.
- Improves balance and strength in Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s disease can affect your balance and strength, and this can affect your quality of life. However, tai chi works to improve your balance and strength, and people with Parkinson’s can benefit from the practice.
- Reduces pain from arthritis. If you have arthritis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. The good news is, tai chi has been shown to help reduce this pain and can even be as effective as physical therapy.
If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of tai chi for yourself, SCOA offers a tai chi class for arthritis and fall prevention weekly, virtually and in person. Find an upcoming class at https://www.sowegacoa.org/events/.