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Posts Tagged ‘mindful movement’

A person in a park practicing Tai Chi

Have you ever been at the beach, a park, or another open space and been mesmerized by people moving and swaying their body in a meditative effortless flow and wondered what they were doing? Chances are they were practicing the art of tai chi. The use of tai chi originated in ancient China and is one of the most effective exercises for health of the mind and body. Tai chi was created based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine, martial arts, and the law of nature known as the “Tao”. It incorporates knowledge going back for thousands of years in Chinese history. 

Tai chi offers overall health benefits and is intrinsically enjoyable. It is believed people are more likely to exercise if they enjoy it. Numerous research supports the health benefits of tai chi. In fact, there are over five hundred medical studies documenting the benefits of tai chi.  

  • Scientist from the University of Florida and Fudan University conducted a study with non-demented older adults from Shanghai, China and found the participants who practiced tai chi three times a week showed significant increases in brain volume and improvements in their memory and thinking test scores.
  • Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine found patients with knee osteoarthritis, older than sixty-five showed a significant decrease in joint pain and stiffness, improved physical function and depression compared to those in the control group. 
  • A new study found people with elevated blood pressure significantly decreased it after practicing tai chi for just 3 months.
  • In a 1996 a study involving 126 post-heart attack patient’s researchers discovered improved cardiovascular fitness and lower blood pressure in the patients.
  • A study conducted at the Oregon Research Institute examined results of tai chi programs found a 49% reduction in the number of falls and improved performance.
  • According to Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, in 82% of studies, tai chi improved mood and lowered anxiety.  It was also an effective treatment for depression.

In addition to the research information shared above, other benefits of tai chi include increased stamina, improved strength,  greater flexibility, enhanced immunity, pain relief, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, greater sense of self-control, feeling empowered, increased concentration, and tranquility.

There are other reasons tai chi is such an excellent choice when it comes to exercise. It is affordable, can practiced almost any place, no special equipment is needed, and it appeals to all ages and abilities. The Ohio State University Extension offers virtual tai chi classes throughout the year. If you would like to try a class or are interested in finding out more information, please contact your local extension office. A new sixteen class virtual series will begin again in September.

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Reviewed by: Kenneth Stewart, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Monroe County

Sources:

Chen, Nina. “Health Benefits of Tai Chi Exercise.” University of Missouri Extension, 18 Jan. 2018, https://extension.missouri.edu/news/health-benefits-of-tai-chi-exercise-3475.

Tai Chi for Health Institute, 8 Feb. 2022, https://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/.

“Tai Chi Boosts Heart Health!” Cleveland HeartLab, Inc., 24 July 2020, https://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/tai-chi-boosts-heart-health/.

Leonardi, Monica. “Photo by Monica Leonardi on Unsplash.” Beautiful Free Images & Pictures, 19 Jan. 2020, https://unsplash.com/photos/Bp8rssVTi-o.

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