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Tai Chi

Timeless Fitness Tip

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice performed to improve the flow of "chi", or energy, in the body.

The intensity of tai chi varies depending on the form or style practiced. Some forms of tai chi are more fast-paced and exerting than are others, for instance. However, most forms are gentle and suitable for everyone. So you can practice tai chi regardless of age or physical ability; tai chi emphasizes technique over strength. In fact, because tai chi is low impact, it may be especially suitable if you're an older adult who otherwise may not exercise. See also: Tai Chi: No-Sweat Pain Relief in our Strictly for Seniors section.

You may also find tai chi appealing because it's inexpensive, requires no special equipment and can be done indoors or out, either alone or in a group.

Tai Chi The slow, gentle, deliberate moves are based on animal movements; done continuously, all while standing. Tai chi works the entire body and improves balance, stamina, flexibility and coordination. Studies show it helps reduce arthritis pain and makes moving easier.

Tai chi does not build up strength as Yoga or pilates does because there is no emphasis on muscle toning. Another option some find pleasant, is qigong (pronounced "chee gung"), which requires less movement and can be done while sitting or lying down.

Qigong Defined:

"Qigong is the art and science of health maintenance and healing that originated in prehistoric shamanic times. Qigong, pronounced "chee gung", embodies two principles: (1) Qi, the vital energy of the body and (2) gong, the practice and training of the Qi. A person practices Qigong by a combination of exercises including meditation, visualization, breathing and movement. The ultimate goal of Qigong is to improve the balance of the functions of the body."

See also: Health and Healing With Tai Chi.

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