Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tai Chi for Fitness

As part of the Tai Chi for Health Community, we have done a good job of communicating that tai chi is good for the elderly to regain function and as a rehabilitation training. But let's not forget the benefits of tai chi are available for people of any age. Tai chi can be useful for younger and middle aged people to help maintain fitness throughout their lives.

There are many people that would benefit from tai chi but they are not interested because of a perception that it is for "old people", that it is "too easy", or that it is a "martial art". We need to communicate better that tai chi is good for everyone. The best way to communicate with health care professionals is with scientific studies.

There was a recent publication, a review report, that looked at several other studies. It was published in a Japanese journal, Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi, in Japanese, so I have to depend on the English abstract. Their main conclusion was that tai chi is beneficial as a rehabilitation training for older people and patients with various diseases. In addition, they concluded that tai chi is beneficial as an exercise for healthy people.

Hasegawa-Ohira, M., M. Toda, et al. "[Effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical and mental health]." Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi 65(4): 500-5.
Recently, Tai Chi, which is one of the Chinese traditional martial arts, has been receiving attention. The main feature of Tai Chi is its flowing movements including loosening up, relaxing, and practicing meditation with slow abdominal respiration. Tai Chi is widely taken as part of health-promotion activities or rehabilitation training, and significant mental and physical effects have been reported so far. In this review report, Tai Chi was confirmed to be beneficial not only as a rehabilitation training for old people or patients with various diseases but also as an exercise for healthy people. These findings suggest the potential of Tai Chi as a complementary and alternative therapy.

© 2011 Eric Borreson