There are many health benefits attached to the practice of Tai Chi as a leisure pursuit. Detailed below are excerpts taken from newspapers, journals etc. that comment on the effects of this ancient martial art upon wellbeing. Click on the links to read the full article from their source website.
"Elderly people whose eyesight is failing can improve their balance and avoid dangerous falls by practising tai chi, according to a study.
Experts say the gentle martial art builds strength and also improves balance control, reducing the chances of life-threatening falls among old people with poor eyesight."
"A series of exercises once a week can lift depression, raise energy levels and even improve your memory, according to a medical study.
The over-65s, particularly those living in care, are six times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population. And drugs can help only an estimated one in three patients, say psychiatrists at the University of California.
But adding a tai chi class, based on a gentler, Westernised version of the martial art, once a week for 10 weeks can make a significant difference."
"A new study by The George Institute for International Health has found Tai Chi to have positive health benefits for musculoskeletal pain. The results of the first comprehensive analysis of Tai Chi suggest that it produces positive effects for improving pain and disability among arthritis sufferers."
"Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn't leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Here's some of the evidence:
Muscle strength. In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength (measured by the number of times they could rise from a chair in 30 seconds) and upper-body strength (measured by their ability to do arm curls).
In a Japanese study using the same strength measures, 113 older adults were assigned to different 12-week exercise programs, including tai chi, brisk walking, and resistance training. People who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength — almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.
"Although you aren't working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body," says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. "Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen."