Editor’s Note: Since returning to walking after taking just a week off from my recently established daily walking routine, I’m really feeling it. My body is no longer as forgiving as it used to be. I’m sluggish, lacking energy, and although I never thought I’d say it, missing my morning walks. Besides the physical benefits of walking, I’m experiencing the stress release and mental clarity that accompanies a nice long walk. Jacqueline, who runs the website, The Aging Suite, suggested I add Tai Chi to my workouts. Today she tells us why Tai Chi can be beneficial, especially to women at 40.
Ok, so when you think about Tai Chi, you don’t exactly think about something someone in their 40’s is doing. You may think, it’s great for my mom and dad and even grandparents, but for me, not so much. Well, think again. Tai Chi is a great form of exercise regardless of your age. Tai Chi is a traditional form of Chinese martial arts that has been practiced in China for centuries. Its benefits and forms have spread throughout the world. Tai Chi is also a low intensity exercise; its movements are smooth, non-jarring, and work joints through their full range of motion. It is believed to have many health benefits including improving flexibility.Alright, I’m 40 or in my 40’s, and am pretty flexible, what can Tai Chi do for me? Research suggests that Tai Chi is also beneficial for younger women in helping to improve their balance and blood pressure. A 2004 article studied the effects of Tai Chi on Chinese women aged 33-55. The women in the study had not participated in other types of exercise or sport for at least 2 years and had not previously done Tai Chi. The women took The Tai Chi classes 3 times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the women’s systolic and diastolic blood pressures had decreased. They also demonstrated improvements in balance when compared with another group who had not done Tai Chi. To read the article in its entirety, check out this link at Oxford Journals.
Other believed benefits of Tai Ch include:
- Improved muscle strength
- Reduced risk of multiple falls
- Lower blood pressure
- Improvements with muscles that control posture
- Improved balance
- Improved cardio fitness
- Lower levels of depression
- Reduced stress and anxiety
To learn more about the benefits of Tai Chi, visit The Aging Suite.
Jacqueline is an Occupational Therapist and blogger. She is the Senior Editor of The Aging Suite, a site that offers tips for aging in place for seniors and their families.