Tai Chi and Health Keeping

Tai Chi, as an excellent way of keeping fit, originates from ancient Chinese arts of health preservation.

Ancient methods of maintaining health may be divided into two main categories: static and dynamic, the distinction being whether or not physical movements are involved.

 
 Chinese martial arts

As a form of wushu, tai chi assimilates the essence of both the static and dynamic exercises. Combining the features of ancient static and dynamic exercises, the tai chi movements are slow and gentle, without exerting force to the utmost, the purpose being to activate the organism, to promote the circulation of qi and blood, and to achieve harmony between yin and yang, mental equilibrium and spiritual peace.

Health benefits

Researchers have found that intensive tai chi practice shows some favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia,. Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.

 
 Chinese martial arts

A study also found that tai chi (compared to regular stretching) showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, in a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.

Stress and mental health

A systematic review and meta-analysis, funded in part by the U.S. government, of the studies on the effects of practicing t’ai chi found that, “Twenty-one of 33 randomized and nonrandomized trials reported that 1 hour to 1 year of regular tai chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between t’ai chi practice and psychological health.”

 
 Chinese martial arts

There have also been indications that tai chi might have some effect on noradrenaline and cortisol production with an effect on mood and heart rate. In one study, t’ai chi has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in 13 adolescents. The improvement in symptoms seems to persist after the t’ai chi sessions were terminated.

As a development of ancient static and dynamic exercises, tai chi has become a unique health-oriented system in its own right. It is a valuable asset belonging not only to the Chinese people; with its value gaining wider and wider appreciation; it will benefit more and more people in the rest of the world.

by Xiao Xiao xiaoxiao@interactchina.com

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The Benefits of Chinese Martial Arts

 

Health and Fitness

By health, we mean not only being free from illness, but the ability to sleep soundly, to work energetically, to think clearly, and to be calm yet alert. By fitness, we mean not just physical strength, but the ability to react quickly, to endure hard work, and to concentrate without mental fatigue.

Chinese Kungfu

Kung Fu is better than other forms of exercise for promoting health and fitness. In swimming, jogging, and karate, for example, the fitness acquired diminishes as one grows old, but in Kung Fu it is enhanced. This is because Kung Fu is more than physical exercise; it develops the inner faculties of vital energy and the mind. A Kung Fu practitioner will exhibit more zest and vitality in both work and play than an ordinary person, and have calmness of mind and clarity of thought even under demanding situations.

 

Character Training

 

Chinese Kungfu

Kung Fu teaching emphasizes moral development as well as physical training, stressing values like respect, courage, tolerance, and reverence for life. The very nature of Kung Fu training is a long process of character building. Wholesome qualities like endurance, perseverance, discipline, loyalty, and a calm disposition are prerequisites for progress, especially at higher levels. All these qualities, acquired through Kung Fu training, are transferable to daily life.

 

Self-Defense

 

Chinese Kungfu

Self-defense is the essence of Chinese martial arts. True Kung Fu teaching always instructs students to be tolerant and avoid fighting, but the ability to defend oneself is a valuable asset. It is only when we know that we can defend ourselves effectively that we gain self-confidence. In this way self-defense can be applied to non-combative situations, such as job interviews or school exams. In modern society, this need for psychological self-defense is perhaps more important than the need to actually fight.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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