The health benefits of tai chi, also known as t’ai-chi ch’aun, impact both the body and mind. The ancient art has proven to reduce anxiety and stress, by enhancing our moods. It has also been shown to positively impact the body, including those individuals affected by diabetes.
Tai chi chaun is an ancient Chinese martial art, which encompasses different styles and variations. The genesis of tai chi dates back to the beginning of written Chinese history and believed to originate from Taoism and Confucianism as a form of self defense. The art has morphed in time to become a modern form of exercise through methodical sustaining movements as well.
Most of us have heard or seen the yin and yang symbol and are aware of its meaning of harmony. Well, the symbol’s proper name is the tai chi diagram; which makes sense as the tai chi principal combines the mind and body into one.
It’s true that tai chi is an ancient martial art and t’ai-chi ch’aun is literally translated as “grand ultimate boxing”, but that doesn’t mean you’re in for an extreme workout. On the contrary, tai chi is a series of slow, precise movements, combined with deep, consistent breathing exercises. “
Tai chi is considered a safe form of exercise for all people of all ages and condition. “A combination of t’ai-chi ch’aun with medication may provide an even better improvement in both metabolism and immunity of patients with type 2 diabetes”, The British Journal of Sports Medicine.
For some people with diabetes, it can be difficult to find an exercise that not only provides results, but is sustainable as physical activity in everyday life. A great aspect of tai chi is the possibility to start exercising whether a person is in not so great health or they are in amazing shape.
Tai chi increases energy and builds muscle strength without putting too much stress on muscles and joints. According to the Harvard Health Publication, “This gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many ills of aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life”, states The Harvard Health Publications. “Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched”.
Tai chi is an inexpensive alternative to those high priced franchises. An expensive membership to an overcrowded gym is not necessary to receive the benefits of tai chi. Save yourself the $20 to $30 dollars a month and sometimes even more depending on the gym. There is also an issue of time with a large gym.
Tai chi doesn’t require any expensive pieces of equipment or gadgets to receive the results of the exercise. Tai chi can be done anywhere. You can do it alone or grab a couple of your friends and utilize the backyard, a patio, the beach or even a local park. There isn’t a competition involved; tai chi is preformed at an individual’s own pace. The martial art is a great opportunity to get the family together for a fit and healthy Saturday afternoon.
Keep in mind, as with any exercise program, it is always crucial to consult your physician or health care specialist before starting any physical activity. This includes tai chi just as any other form of martial arts. This is particularly true for those who have both diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2.
Once you get the go ahead from your physician, it’s time to get started! Call your family and friends and have them meet you for the sunrise tai chi session on the beach or at the park. Okay, maybe not sunrise, that may be too early for some and you may find yourself alone. If you do, don’t let that stop you, remember tai chi can be a solo exercise. Whatever you decide to do, remember an important factor to maintaining a healthy exercise regimen, have fun!