Feeling Stressed, Inflexible or Less Strong Than You’d Like? Try This Form of Martial Arts
When you hear the phrase “martial arts,” you probably picture a scene from a Bruce Lee movie where he single-handedly deals with a room full of bad guys and comes out victorious. But there’s one form of martial arts that is actually quite peaceful and graceful: tai chi.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice that can be thought of as meditating while moving. The series of movements are performed slowly with a lot of focus and deep breathing. It may seem like something so low-energy wouldn’t do much for your health, but there are actually a lot of benefits:
- Delays aging: A 2014 study shows tai chi improves a type of cell that’s important to how your body functions. Experts believe this may lengthen your lifespan and slow the aging process.
- Increases flexibility: Tai Chi moves stretch your major muscle groups and joints, so at the end of a session you will feel loose and flexible.
- Strengthens muscles: A Japanese study showed that people who did tai chi increased the strength in their legs by more than 30 percent and the strength of their arms by 25 percent. This was almost the same increase as a group in the study who did more traditional resistance training.
- Helps your body’s ability to recover: When added to modern medical treatments for different issues, tai chi can improve your quality of life and outcome. Researchers have seen this benefit in patients with arthritis, low bone density, heart disease, sleep disorders, some cancers and more.
- Improves blood pressure: Like yoga and other relaxation exercises, tai chi helps reduce stress and significantly lowers blood pressure.
Ready to give it a shot? Learn the basics of tai chi at one of these locations in Michigan:
- World Martial Arts Academy (Fenton)
- Michigan Tai Chi Center (Royal Oak)
- From the Heart Yoga & Tai Chi Center (Grand Rapids)
- The Cedar Tree Institute (Marquette)
For other fun workouts to try, check out these other posts:
- Don’t Let These Myths Get Between You and Rock Climbing
- Aerial Silk Takes Your Workout to New Heights
- The Best Places in Michigan to Work Out to the Beat
This blog post is part of #HealthyMe, a personalized web experience based on your health and wellness goals. To sign up today, visit http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/healthyme.
Photo credit: Edwin Lee