Tai Chi is a Chinese boxing system that is often described as the art of “meditation in motion". With roots in the ancient healing methods of qigong, tai chi is based on the unification of mind, body, and breath to coordinate and centralize the body's power. A gentle, relaxing form of aerobic exercise, it has been shown to have valuable benefits for the treatment and prevention of various health problems.
As well, tai chi doesn't require any specialized equipment in order to practice it, which makes it far more accessible than many other martial arts. It can be practiced at home, in a park, at work, and many many other places. With its emphasis on slow, deliberate movements, tai chi is particularly well suited for use by the elderly.
The Benefits of Tai Chi for the Elderly
Improves Cognitive Functions
Like many forms of physical activity, tai chi can help to improve brain functions. For example, this study examined the effects of tai chi practice on elderly folk suffering from dementia. The study's conclusion reaffirmed the potential mental health benefits of practicing the art.
Studies such as this one have shown that tai chi has substantial stress reduction benefits and "provides a safer, cost effective, and less physically vigorous alternative to exercise."
Regular practice of tai chi also helps to improve the quality of sleep, which is extremely important for maintaining one's health. Studies such as this one and this one have demonstrated these benefits for more than just the elderly demographic.
The elderly are at substantial risk of injury from falling. Fortunately, tai chi helps to improve balance and reduce the fear of falling. A randomized clinical trial confirmed these benefits.
Improves Air Regulation and In-take
Breath control is an important component of tai chi practice. Participants are encouraged to breath deeply and deliberately, which results in increased oxygen flow. Increased oxygenation is associated with improved alertness, higher energy levels, faster recovery from injuries, and generally improved wellbeing. Beyond general wellness, this study showed that tai chi can also benefit individuals suffering from COPD.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Thanks to its slow, deliberate, meditative character, tai chi can be used as an effective means to reduce blood pressure. This study demonstrated as such.
Tai Chi Styles
Tai Chi is originally from the Chen village in China. After several generations, the art was taught to a man whose family name was Yang. From that initial transmission, tai chi has branched out into several primary styles. Although they share a common core, these styles have different characteristics which may predispose each to different demographics.
The Chen style is the original form of tai chi. It is a more vibrant, martial form of tai chi compared to the other styles.
The Yang style is the second form of tai chi. It emphasizes broad, gentle movements. It is the most popular form of tai chi.
The Hao style was created from the Chen and Yang styles and is the least well known of the 5 major styles of tai chi.
The Wu style was created from the Yang style. Unlike the Yang style, the Wu style makes use of small, tight movements. It is the second most popular form of tai chi.
The Sun style is the most recent of the 5 major tai chi styles.
Choose which style works best for you. Tai chi has something for everyone!
How to Get Started with a Tai Chi Class in Cedar Park
Tai chi has almost no barrier to entry. It requires no special equipment, is adaptable for any age group, and is low risk. Contact Cedar Park Dojo today at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about our tai chi classes, or visit our homepage to see the class schedule. We hope to see you soon!