Gentle flowing movement like a slow dance can be so relaxing. And we relax, the feel-good hormones are released . The Chinese art of Tai Chi is one of the best ways to achieve this.  Originally developed for self-defense, tai chi has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. It is often described as meditation in motion.

What is tai chi?

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.

Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.

Tai chi has many different styles. Each style may subtly emphasize various tai chi principles and methods. There are variations within each style. Some styles may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi.

Tai chi is different from yoga, another type of meditative movement. Yoga includes various physical postures and breathing techniques, along with meditation.

Benefits of Tai CHi

Practicing tai chi may help

  • To improve balance and stability in older people and in those with Parkinson’s disease
  • Reduce back pain and pain from knee osteoarthritis,
  • Improve quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

Who can do tai chi?

Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. In fact, because tai chi is a low impact exercise, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.

You may also find tai chi appealing because it’s inexpensive and requires no special equipment. You can do tai chi anywhere, including indoors or outside. And you can do tai chi alone or in a group class.

Although tai chi is generally safe, women who are pregnant or people with joint problems, back pain, fractures, severe osteoporosis or a hernia should consult their health-care provider before trying tai chi. Modification or avoidance of certain postures may be recommended.

Often the same kind of exercises become boring and mundane. It is always motivating to try newer forms of exercise or activity which give us the joy of learning something new and also help approach fitness differently. Especially, the elderly groups can benefit from a more slow routine that has less chances of injury or strain. So, go ahead and sync your body and mind with these magical movements.

Source: mayoclinic.org , nccih.nih.gov

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Author: drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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