There is increasing evidence that practicing tai chi has value in the prevention of many health problems. It is Traditional Chinese martial arts, involving slow motion and deep breathing. Tai chi has many mental and physical benefits. Tai chi may protect from anxiety, depression, and cognition decline. (1, 2)
1. Promotes Weight Loss
Unlike other exercises, tai chi involves movements that lead to burning calories. For example, a 15-minute tai chi exercise session will burn approximately 70 calories, which is more effective than some other forms of exercises. Thus, people who want to lose weight can benefit from exercising tai chi. One study monitored weight adjustments in an adult group that practiced tai chi for 45 minutes five times a week. With no other lifestyle changes, adults lost a little more than a pound at the end of the 12 weeks. (3)
Tai chi involves movements that result in the burning of calories and weight loss.
2. Improves Cognition in Older Adults
Tai chi incorporates both balance exercise and the learning of a movement sequence, which is an excellent combination for preserving memory as you age. It can enhance cognition in older adults with cognitive impairment. In particular, older adults can benefit from tai chi, which can enhance memory and functioning abilities, such as paying attention and performing complicated tasks. (4)
Tai chi may improve cognition in people suffering from cognitive impairment and those suffering from physical and mental decline.
3. Reduces Falling in Older adults
Tai chi can help improve balance and motor function and decrease the fear of falling among older adults. Within 8 weeks of exercise, it can decrease real falls and can decrease falls considerably after 16 weeks of exercise in older adults. Because fear of falling can decrease independence and quality of life, which can lead to severe complications. In addition, tai chi can provide benefits by boosting the quality of life and overall well-being in the elderly. (5, 6, 7, 8)
Tai chi can benefit the elderly by improving their quality of life and overall well-being.
4. Improves COPD Symptoms
People with COPD may benefit from exercising tai chi. Tai chi exercise may improve some symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In one study, people with COPD spent 12 weeks practicing tai chi. They have improved their exercise ability at the end of the study and reported a general improvement in their quality of life. (9)
According to the study, tai chi exercise may help ease some symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
5. Tai Chi May Reduce Stress
One of the primary benefit of tai chi is its ability to decrease stress and anxiety. In 2018, one study compared the effects of tai chi on stress-related anxiety. There were 50 participants in the study. Scientists discovered that tai chi offered the same benefit as a method to manage stress-related anxiety. This is because tai chi involves meditation and concentrated breathing. The scientists observed that tai chi can be also beneficial to other types of stress-related health problems. (10, 11)
Tai chi is very convenient and low-impact exercise. People with stress-related anxiety may benefit from practicing tai chi.
6. Tai Chi Help Better Sleep
Practicing tai chi regularly can help you get more sleep. One study observed young adults after they attended two tai chi classes a week for 10 weeks. The people who practiced tai chi experienced improvements in their sleep quality. The same group also encountered a decrease in their symptoms of anxiety. Tai chi can benefit older adults by improving their sleep quality. (12, 13)
Regular tai chi practise can help you sleep better. Sleep quality improved in young adults who took part in a 10-week study.
7. Tai Chi Improves Mood
If you are depressed or anxious, tai chi can help improve your mood. A study shows that regular tai chi may reduce depression symptoms. The slow breaths and motions are thought to have a beneficial effect on the nervous system and hormones that regulate mood. Therefore, tai chi can benefit people living with depression and other neurodevelopmental problems. (14)
A preliminary study suggests that practising tai chi regularly may help with depression symptoms.
8. Reduces the Risk Parkinson’s Disease
In a controlled study of 195 respondents, the scientists have discovered that practicing tai chi regularly may reduce the risks of falls in people with Parkinson’s disease. Tai chi can also benefit you to boost the power of legs and your general balance. (15)
Tai chi may prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.
9. Prevents Fibromyalgia
Tai chi may help ease the symptoms of chronic disease fibromyalgia. A study shows that practicing tai chi may benefit people with fibromyalgia. Study participants who practiced tai chi for 52 weeks showed higher improvements compared to aerobic exercise. If you have fibromyalgia, tai chi may benefit you in managing the symptoms. (16)
According to a study, tai chi can help in the management of fibromyalgia symptoms.
10. Reduces Arthritis Pain
According to one study, tai chi may reduce arthritis pain. Fifteen participants with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) exercised tai chi for 12 weeks. The respondents recorded less pain at the end of the study. In another study, 40 participants with knee Osteoarthritis (OA) practiced 60 minutes of tai chi for 12 weeks twice a week. The participants recorded pain reduction and enhancement in mobility and quality of life. They have also found Tai chi to be efficient in treating knee OA. (17, 18, 19)
Tai chi may benefit people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you have arthritis, always speak to your doctor before you start tai chi.
Suggested article: 10 daily pain management exercises for RA patients
Tai chi is an exercise that can benefit both young and old adults living with chronic conditions. Tai chi health benefits include sleep improvement, weight loss, and mood management. If you’re interested in trying tai chi, an instructor can help you get started.
- Effects of Tai Chi and Walking Exercises on Weight Loss, Metabolic Syndrome Parameters, and Bone Mineral Density: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial“, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015.
- The Effect of Tai Chi Exercise on the Risk and Fear of Falling in Older Adults: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Mater Sociomed. 2018.
- Patterns and Perceived Benefits of Utilizing Seven Major Complementary Health Approaches in U.S. Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018.
- Effects of Tai Chi on exercise capacity and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2014.
- Effects of tai chi chuan on anxiety and sleep quality in young adults: lessons from a randomized controlled feasibility study. Nat Sci Sleep. 2016.
- Tai chi qigong as a means to improve night-time sleep quality among older adults with cognitive impairment: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Clin Interv Aging. 2016.
- Qigong and Tai-Chi for Mood Regulation. The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. 2017.
- Effect of tai chi versus aerobic exercise for fibromyalgia: comparative effectiveness randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2018.
- Exploring Tai Chi in rheumatoid arthritis: a quantitative and qualitative study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010.
- Tai Chi is effective in treating knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2009.