At the outset, you wouldn't believe that such gentle, fluid and flowing motions could be a form of exercise. But it is. Tai chi is a Chinese centuries-old practice designed to exercise the mind and body through a series of complex postures and movements. Rooted in tradition, meditation and martial arts, tai chi is supposed to improve the flow of "chi" or energy that sustains life throughout the body. With constant practice, the gentle movements of this exercise provide the following benefits:
1. It improves strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. All movements are geared towards the development of these attributes. Hand and body postures are deliberate and exact, making the practitioner always mindful of his stance.
2. As a mind-body technique, it has the ability to reduce stress. Breathing exercises allow one to relax. It staves off further aggravation from existing illnesses, strengthens the immune systems, lowers blood pressure levels and improves heart function. It improves circulation.
3. It counteracts the repetitive abuses that we constantly subject our bodies to. Sitting in front of the computer all day overworks the hand while atrophying everything else. The fluid and gentle movements of tai chi works to exercise and strengthen all muscle groups.
4. It develops balance. Movements involve shifting the weight from one leg to another and doing so develops balance. This is especially beneficial for older adults who need balance to prevent falls and injuries. In fact, seniors who practiced the movements even for just an hour two times a week showed significant improvement in performing the activities of daily living such as dressing, walking and lifting.
5. It aids in weight loss. This might seem counter-intuitive, considering that the movements are slow and fluid. But constant practice does in fact burn calories to make you lose weight. And since it's a very low-impact exercise, it's a good workout for those who are carrying excess pounds and have fats to lose. Another way by which this mind-body technique loses the weight is that it centers the individual, thus putting focus away from food but in other activities that give physical and psychological satisfaction. By reducing stress and allowing you to let go of emotions that lead you to overeat in the first place, you don't give in to the urge to consume more food than you have to.
6. It has a beneficial effect to the mind. Tai chi requires concentration to do the hand movements and master the poses correctly.
7. It develops discipline. Keeping balance while ensuring that proper form or technique is followed requires a certain degree of restraint and control. It focuses an individual to a given task, making it a good exercise for those who have a difficult time concentrating.
8. It gives one a greater control over oneself. It develops awareness. Since it's highly meditative, it gives you the chance to look deeper into yourself and know your real strengths and weaknesses, and further gives you the means to harness or overcome them.
9. It promotes coordination of body and mind and coordination between body parts.
10. It balances an individual.
Last but not least, check out the P90X exercise program and learn about the best method to get in shape from home. Also, don't forget to check out this post called "Shakeology".
Blogger, mom, and fitness fanatic who enjoys traveling the world and experiencing new things.
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