5 Proven Health Benefits Of Tai Chi
People practising Tai Chi in groups has become a common sight in public places or institutions. Tai Chi as a form of exercise is often looked upon as a non-serious kind of exercise as compared to other physical exercises. Due to its slow movements and meditating nature, non-tai chi practitioners are often sceptical about its effectiveness. But, tai chi is one of the only forms of exercises that have conclusive evidence to support its effectiveness and health benefits.
Ever since its origin, Tai Chi was highly regarded amongst Chinese monks for its “greater longevity” aspect. Tai Chi has been mentioned in many ancient Chinese scripts and books for its other health benefits as well. There have been numerous medical studies and reviews on Tai Chi that proves all its beneficial health aspects. Tai Chi may be the simplest form of exercise that provides such high results when it comes to health benefits.
Some of the proven health benefits of Tai Chi are-
- Reduces Chronic heart failure
The fact that tai chi improves the health of our heart is one of the primary factors why people practice it in the first place. Several small magnitude studies show that people can cure heart from Tai Chi. In fact Tai Chi plays the most prominent role in curing and improving the heart’s health as opposed to any other form of exercise. The result is, however, of minima nature as the study was conducted on a small group of people. But, in any case, the result was a breakthrough keeping in mind that other forms of physically straining exercises do not show any better results.
A systematic review that was performed in 2015 on 20 different studies related to tai chi showed that tai chi improved the cardiovascular health of the heart. Several heart health factors such as heart rate and blood pressure showed significant improvements. A Cochrane review in 2016 on 13 small studies also showed results to support the same.
- Reduces the risks of fall in older adults
This is one of the most crucial and widely proven health benefits of Tai Chi. “Falling” in older adults is a common phenomenon due to their low body strength and in many cases due to Strokes as well. Tai Chi has been studied by different medical organizations and reviewed to see its effectiveness on this particular aspect, and tai chi has shown significant results.
A systematic review performed on 544 tai chi practitioners in 2015 showed conclusive evidence to shed light on the reduction of fall. The review showed that participants improved their control balance and flexibility, which is the primary factor for reducing fall in older adults. A Cochrane review in 2014 also showed evidence and concluded that practising tai chi chuan regularly aided the older people to minimise their fear of falling after their workouts.
There was also a 2012 review that involved 159 random trials on a staggering 79,193 people. The review was performed to check the effect of different forms of exercises on the reduction of fall in senior citizens. At the end of the review, it was concluded that tai chi showed the most promising results than the rest of the exercise regimes.
- Reduces Stress
Tai Chi involves the relaxation of the whole body and mind in general. This contributes extensively to its stress reduction factor. Due to its meditative nature, tai chi has been long used as a means of reducing anxiety and depressive health issues.
A study conducted in 2018 to see the effectiveness of tai chi in reducing stress provided positive results to conclude that tai chi, in fact, helped in reducing stress. The study was conducted on a group of about 50 people to see the effects of tai chi on their stress-related anxiety and depressive nature. All the participants had anxiety and depression problems prior to the study. The study showed that tai chi had almost the same outcome and effect as that of any anxiety and depression management exercises. There is, however, a need for larger magnitude study.
- Promotes better sleep
People who practise tai chi regularly experience a better sleeping experience. This, in particular, is a very positive factor keeping in mind that more than 25% of adults suffer from improper sleeping symptoms. A pilot study in 2016 performed on older people who suffered from cognitive impairment experienced better sleep quality after practising tai chi on a regular basis. The test was conducted for 2 months, and the participants practised tai chi twice in a week.
- Improves COPD symptoms
COD aka Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is common in many adults. The symptoms include a chronic cough or shortness of breath when taking part in any physical activities. An Australian study on tai chi showed evidence to support that it helped in boosting the exercise duration capacity and also improved the COPD symptoms. The “sun-style-tai chi” in particular proved more effective in producing a significant result when it comes to improving the COPD symptoms.