Tai Chi Can Improve Your Health and Strength
During the COVID-related shutdowns, many people looked for new ways to exercise at home. Some discovered tai chi, an ancient Chinese practice of postures and movements that is proven to build strength and balance.
Tai chi is a safe and gentle exercise. The National Institutes of Health says, “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, and improve quality of life in people with heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.”
Tai chi has also been shown to help lower seniors’ risk of falling. In fact, it’s offered as a balance training practice in senior centers, gyms and senior living communities around the world.
And there are more benefits. While you’re lowering your fall risk and improving your balance, you could also be improving your health and mood in many other ways:
- Tai chi has been shown to fight late-life depression and anxiety disorders, providing all-around mood support for older adults.
- It can reduce pain and improve joint function.
- Tai chi can help stroke survivors relearn how to maintain their balance, both while standing and moving. It may even reduce the risk of another stroke by lowering blood pressure.
- It can be a good exercise for people who are living with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.
- Despite its gentle nature, tai chi has been found to increase muscle strength.
- Some studies show tai chi boosts the immune system by lowering stress.
- People with lower-back problems can lower their perception of pain and improve flexibility with tai chi.
- Tai chi can improve the quality of sleep.
You can find a tai chi class through your local senior center, recreation department or senior living community. Tai chi is often practiced in groups, but some people enjoy doing it alone, at home or outdoors.
Before you begin any exercise program, including tai chi, ask your doctor. You may want to have the doctor recommend a particular program for someone with your health conditions.