These are the health benefits of Tai Chi, according to Harvard University

These are the health benefits of Tai Chi, according to Harvard University
These are the health benefits of Tai Chi, according to Harvard University

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It is so soft and its movements so delicate that One would not say that one is strength training or making the slightest effort that makes us sweat.. And yet, the Tai Chi It has a long list of comprehensive health benefits that makes it one of the best exercises out there.

Probably much of its appeal lies in the sum of body movements in the form of choreography, along with an alert – but calm – state of mind. This ancient martial art improves balance, reduces anxiety and prevents cardiovascular diseases by increasing the heart rate in a moderate way. Breathing techniques are key in Tai Chi.

The charity Parkinson’s UK describes Tai Chi as a low-intensity physical activity that can “help improve your mood and help you live well”but recently Harvard University went further by classifying Tai Chi as “the perfect activity for the rest of your life”.

Tai Chi is often described as ‘meditation in motion’but it could just as well be called ‘medication on the move’, says the prestigious American university, which points out that there is growing evidence that this practice is very valuable in treating or preventing many problems. And you can start even if you are not in top form or in good health.

Tai Chi has its roots in the notion of the body developed in the Taoist philosophical, medical and religious tradition.GETTY IMAGES

“It is very safe and does not require any fancy equipment, so it is easy to get started,” Harvard says, praising the exercise. The goal: to have a healthy body and a calm mind.

The benefits of Tai Chi can be extended to people of all ages and abilities.as the movements are gentle and low impact. We would also recommend that those interested in practising Tai Chi consult with their GP to see if it would be suitable for their needs,” she explains to BBC World Professor Lucy Collins of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork.

And although Tai Chi is slow and gentle and does not leave you breathless, “addresses the key components of fitness: muscle strength, flexibility, balance and, to a lesser extent, aerobic conditioning,” the university says.

For Pedro Jesús Jiménez Martínez, professor of Social Sciences of Physical Activity at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, One of the challenges that a student who approaches Tai Chi Chuan must face is “giving up the search for a manual” “exact universal guide that indicates for everyone what the correct width of the feet is in the postures, the correct direction of the hands in the figures or the ideal angle to seek in the joint positions.”

Jiménez argues that these assessments lose their importance in favoring the search for bodily sensations that warn the practitioner about What is the most comfortable and natural position, in which you can feel relaxed, when performing the movement?This is how Tai Chi can help you, according to various studies cited by Harvard.

It was originally developed for self-defense.GETTY IMAGES

It can improve both lower and upper body strength.. When practiced regularly, Tai Chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking. “Although you don’t work with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise that Tai Chi involves is very effective.” strengthens the upper bodyboth the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen,” says the University.

“The foundation of Tai Chi is understand the person as a whole and improve balance and communication between different systems in the body,” says Peter Wayne, a long-time Tai Chi researcher at Harvard Medical School.

Tai Chi sequences involve joint movements of the entire bodygently stretching the muscles and tendons through a full range of motion. This helps to increase muscle elasticity and joint flexibility, reducing stiffness and improving range of motion.

Tai chi promotes serenity through smooth, flowing movements.GETTY IMAGES

Several studies found evidence that Tai Chi improves balance and stability in older adults and reduces the risk and fear of falling. Its conscious practice requires high levels of concentration. The truth is that proprioception (the ability to sense the position of the body in space) decreases with age.

Tai Chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in muscles and ligaments.

Slow, continuous movements increase the heart rate moderately, which strengthens the heart and improves blood circulationHowever, Harvard advises that if your doctor recommends more intense cardiovascular exercise with a higher heart rate, you may want to look into more aerobic exercises. Running, tennis, and dancing are all high-impact aerobic exercises.

Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese physical activity of Taoist origin.GETTY IMAGES

For Dr Samuel Nyman, head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Winchester, “This exercise is also good for cognitive health because it delays the decline of executive function.”.

“In direct comparison to other exercises, Tai Chi may offer a superior strategy to reduce falls “thanks to its benefits on cognitive functioning,” Nyman explains in an extensive study. “The same goes for mental health, it helps reduce stress,” he adds. All these benefits give us a clue as to why Tai Chi is an ancient art.

Tai Chi movements for beginners

BBC World

 
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