Why is tai chi gaining ground in the fitness world?
On June 2, 2013 more than 300 Tai Chi practitioners descended on Cesar Chavez park to perform the Simplified Tai Chi 24 routine in honor of Kung Fu Tai Chi
People frequently ask, “What is tai chi good for?” when they see others practicing it. That is probably because the slow moving exercises hardly looks like exercise. After all, those people are not putting much effort into it, are they?
In the modern world we have become accustomed to lifestyles that are composed of rushing around, getting possessions and spending both money and time doing the things that make it difficult to fit in any exercise program.
Experts in the western world as well as China claim that tai chi, the slow moving exercise, can be a great way to keep fit in our harried lives. It is frequently the exercise of choice in senior citizen clubs and people of all ages can be seen practicing tai chi in a wide range of public places.
Health benefits of tai chi
Tai chi healing offers long-term health benefits for all age groups. It is referred to as the slow moving answer to our high speed world. Some of the health benefits include:
- tai chi weight loss
- tai chi healing
- tai chi for diabetes
- tai chi relaxation
- tai chi for older adults
Arthur Rosenfeld, the tai chi master and author of Tai Chi : The Perfect Exercise, claims that our modern lifestyles are all about greed, speed and instant gratification. He offers tai chi as the route back to balanced health.
He says it does not mean tai chi will help you win the marathon or lift 750 pounds. It’s not about doing things faster or being physically stronger but rather more about how your body works.
There are hundreds of studies about the claimed physical benefits of tai chi covering topics like improving your balance, your attention span, boosting your immune system and combating symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and insomnia.
In the US alone there are believed to be well over two million active participants. Over recent years it has become popular around the world, possibly as a result of the exposure given to it on television and at the movies.
Tai chi is the slow moving exercise
As a slow moving exercise tai chi does not do anything for the cardiovascular needs of people today. People want cardio exercises as part of their general keep fit programs. Tai chi might have a challenging level of physical exertion but it does not exercise the heart. Your heart rate will not become elevated so tai chi should be a part of your regular fitness program.
Tai chi originally came from Chinese martial arts and is related to the “harmonious interplay of opposing forces”. The Chinese tell us that a strong force in nature is opposed by another spiral force to maintain harmony. They refer to spirals seen in nature including spiral galaxies, tornadoes and water going down a drain. Tai chi, therefore, uses spiral motions.
Tai chi is claimed to improve movement, flexibility and mobility which is a major reason for its popularity with older people. It is also low impact exercise. Some exponents claim it is more dynamic than yoga.
Research has shown that practicing tai chi increased mineral bone density. It is claimed to boost endurance, strengthen the lower body muscles and reduce depression.
How can you enjoy tai chi exercises?
You’ll need to join a club. Fortunately new clubs are starting up in many towns and cities so look for your local one. The classes will be based on a number of sessions, typically twenty four or thereabouts.
You can expect to cover these:
- The primary principle of tai chi
- Stretching and warm up procedures
- Breath coordination and breathing methods
- Basic stances
- Correct tai chi posture
- Basic stepping techniques
- More advanced posture and body mechanics
Lessons are taught by a tai chi master who will also show you how tai chi aids overall well being, healing and recovery from injury and self defense. Discuss your goals with the master and you will get the right course for you. So, what is tai chi good for? It is good for you.