Feel Younger With Tai Chi

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on November 9, 2017 in Health and Wellbeing

Stan Cohen writing on tai chi… 

You may have once thought you were invulnerable, with vitality to spare. The idea of one day depending on someone else was a far-fetched fallacy. We all thought that once.

Then one day, middle age has passed and you find yourself not moving quite as fast…not able to reach quite as high…or climb the steps as quickly as you once did. And was that a wobble you felt as you took that step this morning?

You can just accept that you are getting older. Or, you can refuse to just sit idly and let it happen. You can head this off at the pass and reverse the aging process.

I discovered tai chi when I was in my early forties. I’m now 63 and the physical flexibility I enjoy is thanks to this lovely form of exercise. Not only do I practice daily, I also teach. Some of my students are much older than me, but even in your 70s and 80s you can feel the benefits.

As well as keeping you supple, it can help you maintain your balance, stay free of accidental falls, and be independent for longer. Plus, there are mental benefits. It keeps your brain sharp.

Tai chi and qigong are ancient practices from the east that involve gentle, daily movement. They have a relaxing, meditative quality that helps you feel good in mind and body. It’s not a religion, and it’s not a philosophy. People all over the world attend classes. Sometimes, you can even see groups of people going through their movements together in a park.

Of the two, qigong is easier to learn due to the simplicity of many of the individual exercises. Tai chi is more complex, takes longer to learn, and requires more coordination and memorization.

Tai chi is a martial art, with many of the movements based in self-defense. Being derived from qigong, it has a lot of the same health-oriented principals. However, it is geared toward a mix of both internal and external fitness. Tai chi involves more walking and strings of movements. It is a “dance pattern” of sorts.

Qigong is not a martial art and is geared for body flexibility, breathing, and mindfulness, with an emphasis on internal health. Most of the movements are done without walking, or with minimal steps. It is made up of individual movements done as a group or as standalone exercises.

The practice of tai chi and qigong (sometimes spelled chi kung or chi gong) work on improving your internal health, providing better breathing, and helping your organs maintain healthy function. They also work on external, structural flexibility, tone, strength, and overall mobility of limbs and joints. See how simple it is here.

If you want to reduce stress, take fewer medications, and be healthier overall, see if there’s a class near you.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/kali9