Tai Chi is a Chinese method of exercise and meditation that emphasizes control over your movements and breathing. Instead of high-intensity exercise like spin class, the exercise promotes a general sense of well being instead of focusing on weight loss.
Many women now enjoy these classes due to its accessibility and ease. Plus, the world of Eastern exercise provides a new mindset on health that can be quite enlightening. However, there are probably benefits that you haven’t even considered.
Here are 12 tai chi benefits most women overlook.
1. Increase Strength
Even if the exercises are relatively low impact, they still require you to use your muscles. As you work the muscles, they will continue to get stronger. If you don’t use the muscles, they will become weak and depleted, making normal tasks more and more difficult. You will also strengthen your bones, which is especially important for woman as they get older. Older women become vulnerable to osteoporosis, a disease that makes the bones brittle. Women with osteoporosis are more likely to break a bone or get seriously injured when they fall. After a serious injury, you may never be able to fully regain your strength again. If you have been injured, talk to your physical therapist about how classes can help improve your mobility.
2. Increased Energy
People in motion stay in motion. Going to a tai chi class will spark your endorphins, giving you energy. Go to classes at the beginning of the day to increase your energy levels for the rest of your day.
Endorphins are a compound in the brain that energize your body and mind. The levels come up at times of exercise or excitement. Some exercise options actually use up all of your endorphins making you even more tired when you’re done. You won’t want to do anything for the rest of the day. Natural energy is healthier for you than caffeine. You may even save money by not having to buy coffee every day.
3. Cardiovascular Health
As we get older, heart health becomes more and more important. Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death in adults. As we age, our arteries can become clogged with all of the bad food we’ve eaten throughout the years. This can make your heart need to work harder than normal, even when you are just relaxing. Your heart may also become more susceptible to unexpected events. Tai chi puts your heart at work through a variety of different exercises, keeping it healthy. Remember that you need to exercise regularly and be mindful of what you eat to keep your heart healthy.
4. Improve Respiratory Functions
Tai chi emphasizes breathing throughout the exercises. During every class, your teacher will tell you when to take long breaths and when to take short breaths. You will be able to take these lessons about breathing into the rest of your day. This will help strengthen your lungs. You won’t get winded during simple tasks, such as walking up the stairs. Improved cardiovascular health will also help you get up those stairs without getting winded.
5. Help Flow of Liquid in Your Body
Your body has a number of fluids running through it at all times. It’s important that your body spread the fluids evenly. If you don’t have good blood circulation, you won’t deliver oxygen through your body evenly. This will allow your organs to function as optimally as possible.
Poor circulation could result in some serious body malfunctions and even the loss of limbs or organs.
Blood isn’t the only fluid that tai chi will help, either. You have a number of other fluids to regulate in your body, too. Lymph fluid helps lube up your lymphatic system. You also have synovial fluid that helps protect your joints and cerebrospinal fluid that helps protect your back.
6. Increase Flexibility
Movement gets more difficult as we get older. Soon, extreme movements can cause pain. You will start to lose mobility. You will notice you can’t do certain things that you used to be able to do physically. Tai chi gives you the opportunity to stretch out your body and regain flexibility. Even better, you will stretch out the small muscles in your body that most exercise routines don’t target. Targeting these small muscles will improve even the most detailed and unusual body movements.
7. Safe and Gentle Exercise
As we get older, the gym can become more and more dangerous. This is especially true for anyone with a heart condition or limited mobility. Tai chi is perfect since it is a very low impact on the body and heart. You do simple exercises that won’t exasperate you too much. It’s safe for just about anyone. You don’t need to worry about hurting your heart or straining yourself. Of course, you should still ask your doctor if it’s safe for you if you are unsure about your health.
8. Improve Balance
Falling is a serious problem for people when they get older. Avoid falling by doing everything in your power to keep up on your balance, including going to a tai chi class. You will get stronger, and you will also increase your balance. through performing a variety of different exercises. You may even be asked to stand on one foot.
In time, you will be able to walk up and down stairs without the fear of falling. When you do get to the point where you can’t balance comfortably due to bad knees or another problem, it’s time to find a place without stairs. When in tai chi class, only do what you feel comfortable doing.
9. Pain Relief
Conditions such as fibromyalgia and MS can cause significant chronic pain. You may also have chronic pain from bad joints. While it may seem counter-intuitive, the exercise will get your joints and muscles accustomed to the activity. The small amounts of became don’t seem to hurt as much anymore. With time, you won’t feel the pain as severely throughout the day. You may even be able to get rid of the pain medication that can come with bad side effects.
10. Strengthen Cognitive Functions
With time, the brain starts to go a little bit. It is normal. Many people forget names or walk into a room and forget why we were there in the first place. That doesn’t mean you have to help the process along, though. One of the best ways to keep your brain working is by providing it with plenty of mental stimulation. Tai chi can provide stimulation by giving you orders to focus on. You will have small routines to do during the class that you have to remember. This will spark your brain. You may even notice that you’re able to remember things better outside of class.
11. Better Sleep
Sleep is extremely important to the body. We don’t know exactly why the body requires sleep, but we know that poor sleep can lead to a number of physical problems. The cells won’t get the rest they need, and almost every function will be affected. You won’t be able to concentrate as well, you won’t be able to move as quickly, and you increase your chances of having heart problems and diabetes. Tai chi can help regulate your entire system, allowing you to get the sleep you need at the end of the day. It may also help you achieve REM sleep, deep sleep that we need to really get the benefits of slumber.
12. Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Every day, we come across a number of different stressors. These stressors include family, work, marriage, managing the homestead, and friendships. It’s easy to understand why someone can start to feel depressed or anxious. Some people will go to a therapist or even take medication to help with the symptoms. There may be a better way in the art of tai chi. The class is not only about your physical health.
It’s also about your mental health and emotional health. Throughout the class, you will be encouraged to release the tension you may have built up inside of you. The exercises are soothing, helping you maintain calm no matter what you may be up against. For people who suffer from an existential crisis in life due to tragedy or monotony, tai chi is also known to help with a person’s spiritual health. This can also help someone achieve peace.
Tai chi is a great way to stay healthy at any age but especially as you get older. The classes are perfect for people who don’t want to put too much strain on their heart or their body. It’s also great for people who want to promote mental stimulation. Try it for yourself by going to a class with you and your friends. If you like it, sign up for a whole session and enjoy the benefits.