Tai Chi: No-Sweat Pain Relief
Tai chi, a Chinese exercise dating back 2000-plus years, is an exercise that strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility and promotes relaxation. Tai chi may also have a huge side benefit; relief of chronic joint pain.
The best news is, anyone can do tai chi and the benefits are extensive. Tai chi exercise is non-competitive, gentle and self-paced.
Researchers found that those who attended weekly hour-long tai chi classes had significantly less pain than those not taking the class did.
Tai chi increases circulation, which may improve joint function. Tai Chi is used as therapy for chronic pain and limited mobility, but its greatest power is preventive. Studies now show us that tai chi reduces blood pressure, as well as episodes of anxiety and depression. It also helps give a boost to the immune system, builds bone mass and improves balance and coordination. A 2004 study by the University of Liverpool said doing tai chi three times a week for 12 weeks improved balance in participants, along with flexibility and coordination.
Tai chi reduces joint pain because it stabilizes the joint structure and strengthens the soft tissue that supports the joint, which may help reduce pain.
Tai Chi to Boost Heart Health
A National Taiwan University Hospital study found that tai chi qualifies as moderate aerobic exercise. (A 150 pound person can burn 270 calories an hour.) Aerobic exercises make the heart work harder to pump blood quicker, ultimately improving cardiovascular fitness.
Tai Chi to Reduce Stress
Tai chi also reduces the effects of stress. Coordinating graceful movements with deep breathing provides a state of calm. High stress levels are often the main contributing factors in many diseases. By bringing down stress levels through the practice of tai chi, many people have attested to positive results shown in their general health conditions.
A South Korean study found that osteoarthritis patients had less pain after 12 weeks of tai chi. Ideal for those who dislike traditional exercise, tai chi's gentle muscle toning can help you sleep and concentrate better and feel more alert.
Get yourself a video and work out in the privacy of your own home!
As always, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
You may also find of interest...
- Exercise Guidelines for Seniors
- Practicing Tai Chi (Exercise!)
- Health and Healing With Tai Chi (Blog Post)
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