Participating in any type of physical activity is proven to have a positive effect on our bodies and our minds. But even though we all know we should exercise regularly, the fact is that less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical fitness each day. That can certainly affect us in the short term, resulting in lower energy levels, sleeping difficulties, weight gain, and even feelings of depression or anxiety. But in the long term, a lack of physical activity can leave our muscles weak and make us more vulnerable to injury. Whether you want to take control of your fitness in the prime of life or want to ensure you’re active as you age, here’s how tai chi can improve your lifelong health.
Tai Chi Can Build Strength, Endurance, and Flexibility
Many martial arts practices, like kickboxing or jiu-jitsu, can improve strength and endurance. But tai chi can help with muscular strength, stamina, and physical flexibility — particularly in older adults. Studies have shown that participants who are in their 60s and 70s were able to improve their flexibility, balance, strength, and stamina after just six weeks of practicing. Which brings us to our next point…
It Can Actually Reduce Senior Falls
Falls are actually one of the most common reasons for emergency room visits and accidental fatalities for senior citizens. Those who have osteoporosis or other health conditions may be just one fall away from major injury or even death. But one study found that when older adults who were previously inactive practiced tai chi for up to an hour for three days a week, they were 55% less likely to fall than seniors who did not participate. Plus, studies have also found that those who practice this martial art form actually walked more steps than those who did not practice it — meaning that their mobility was likely improved as a result.
This Martial Arts Form Can Reduce Stress
This form of martial arts has a great many physical benefits. But it can also benefit the mind and spirit. Today, we’re more stressed than ever. Carrying around a great deal of stress is bad for our health. Not only can it lead to feelings of burnout, depression, and anxiety, but it can also exacerbate countless other health conditions. Dealing with that stress in a positive way is essential for long-term health. While exercise is a great way to combat stress in the general sense, this practice, in particular, can really do the trick. The slow, gentle nature of the movements, the mind-body connection, and the process of breathing and concentration can allow you to release tension, let go of anxiety, and feel much calmer. That’s something that participants of any age can benefit from.
It May Even Relieve Existing Symptoms
We’ve talked about how this martial art practice can help you feel less stressed and increase your strength and flexibility. But it may also help to relieve you of painful or frustrating symptoms associated with pre-existing health conditions. Because this practice involves natural movements and postures, you can actually learn to protect your joints and strengthen vulnerable areas within your body. Studies have found that sufferers of asthma, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis all showed significant symptomatic improvements after practicing this discipline. Because it’s such a gentle way to work out, it’s safe for people of all ages and can improve your quality of life.
You May Sleep Better After Participating
If all those other benefits weren’t enough, consider the fact that attending classes at a well-respected academy for tai chi Portland residents love can even help you sleep better at night. One study found that seniors who practiced this discipline fell asleep faster and slept for a longer period than those who did traditional group exercise. That’s great news for insomniacs and those who have trouble sleeping due to pain.
Ready to find out how participation in martial arts can improve your health and your life overall? Get in touch with us today to learn about our class offerings.