What are the health benefits of Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is recommended for virtually anyone regardless of age, sex, health, physical build or beliefs. It can be practiced at any time without special conditions or equipment. Different aspects can be practiced while walking, standing, sitting or lying down.
People are responsible for their own health. Everyone knows this but rarely pay attention to this fact. There is a limit to how much a physician can help. Suitable exercise can overcome fatigue and restore vitality, and together with a healthy lifestyle, maintain health. Medical science emphasises the dangers of excessive exercise, which produces an abundance of ageing and cancer-causing free radicals. In the animal world, the fast moving and fierce lions and tigers do not outlive the slow moving tortoise or snake. Similarly, those who do rigorous exercise such as athletes will never be as healthy or have the longevity of practitioners of Tai Chi or Qigong.
A review of the health benefits of Tai Chi were outlined in the Harvard Medical Review (2009) and included gains in muscle strength, flexibility, balance and aerobic endurance. It also specified particular ailments that benefited from Tai Chi practice such as arthritis, low bone density, breast cancer, heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, Parkinson Disease, sleep problems and stroke. A review of research of the psychological effect of Tai Chi (Wang et al, 2010) indicated mental health benefits in promoting psychological well-being, including reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem as well as life satisfaction among healthy subjects and patients with chronic conditions.
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Wang et al. (2010) Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine,USA.