Benefits of Tai chi vs Yoga
A brief overview on the benefits of Tai-Chi
Tai chi is a system of movements and postures which have been practiced for centuries by Chinese people. It has also been practiced in the West since the late 1960s. The practice of Tai chi can achieve many health benefits, including:
Reduces stress and increases relaxation
Improves range of motion
Improves general fitness
Stress Reduction and Relaxation
The slow movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditative quality of Tai chi class naturally induce a state of relaxation in most practitioners. The combination of these three elements makes it an ideal stress reliever. Stress-related medical conditions are common in the United States, affecting up to 70 million people.
As the demands of work, family, and society contribute to an ever-growing state of stress in our lives, many are turning to complementary therapies such as Tai chi for relief. Scientific studies have shown that practicing Tai chi actually produces changes in the body’s physiology which can help you relax physically and mentally.
10 benefits of tai chi:
Table of Contents
Tai chi or taijiquan is an ancient Chinese martial art that involves a series of slow-flowing body movements combined with breathing exercises. It offers many health benefits and can be practiced by nearly anyone regardless of age, lifestyle, or physical condition. Here are the top 10 proven medical benefits of tai chi:
1) Tai Chi May Improve Memory:
In a study involving 37 healthy seniors with mild memory impairment, subjects who took part in 24 weeks of Tai Chi classes scored higher on tests of mental acuity and had improved blood flow to the brain when compared to a waitlist control group. The researchers concluded that regular practice of Tai Chi may improve cognitive function and increase cerebral blood volume in older adults.
2) Tai Chi Regularly Can Help Improve Balance:
In a study involving 290 seniors over the age of 75 who were recruited from senior centers, subjects who took part in 24 weeks of Tai Chi classes had significantly better balance, measured by the time it took for participants to complete a tandem stance test, than those in a waitlist control group. Tai Chi classes also dramatically improved the strength of knee flexor and extensor muscles, which translates to better balance, the researchers said.
3) Tai Chi Regularly Can Help Reduce Arthritis Symptoms:
A study involving 270 older adults (average age 70) over a 12-week period found that those who participated in twice-weekly Tai Chi classes experienced significantly reduced pain and stiffness in the hips and knees compared to a waitlist control group. Participants also showed improved balance, walking speed, and general quality of life.
4) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Reduce Stress & Anxiety:
In a study involving 60 heart failure patients over an 8-week period, subjects who took part in daily Tai Chi classes showed significantly reduced anxiety, depressive symptoms, and stress when compared to a waitlist control group. Researchers said the good feelings generated by regular practice of Tai Chi may be an additional benefit to reducing heart failure symptoms.
5) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Reduce Blood Pressure:
A study involving 202 adults (average age 52) with high blood pressure found that those who participated in twice-weekly Tai Chi classes had significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when compared to a waitlist control group. Participants also showed improved balance.
6) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Improve Immune Function:
In a study involving 96 older adults with low immune function over a 12-week period, subjects who took part in once-weekly Tai Chi classes experienced significant improvements in immune cell response to vaccinations when compared to a waitlist control group.
7) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Reduce Pain:
In a study involving 40 cancer patients with pain due to soft tissue damage or inflammation, subjects who took part in 12 weeks of Tai Chi classes experienced significant improvements in the intensity and frequency of pain. The researchers concluded that regular practice of Tai Chi may be a useful adjunct therapy for cancer-related pain, especially when combined with conventional treatments.
8) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Reduce PMS Symptoms:
In a study involving 98 women over an 8-week period, subjects who took part in once-weekly Tai Chi classes reported significant reductions in PMS symptoms (such as mood swings, water retention, and bloating) when compared to a waitlist control group. The researchers concluded that regular practice of Tai Chi may help reduce the psychological and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
9) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Reduce Symptoms of Diabetes:
In a study involving 20 diabetes patients over a 12-week period, subjects who took part in three sessions per week of either traditional Yang Style or modified Wu Style Tai Chi exercises showed significant improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal. The researchers concluded that regular practice of Tai Chi may help reduce symptoms of diabetes and improve glucose control.
10) Tai Chi Regularly May Help Prevent Falls:
A study involving 124 older adults (average age 81) with a history of falls found that those who participated in twice-weekly Tai Chi classes for six months had 1/3 the rate of falls when compared to a waitlist control group or subjects who received standard care.
The researchers concluded that regular practice of Tai Chi may help prevent falls by improving balance and muscle strength, along with reducing the age-related decline in cognitive function.
Disadvantages of tai chi:
1) Tai Chi Can Be Expensive or Time-Consuming:
Some people are deterred by the cost of joining a local Tai Chi class. For others, time constraints make it difficult to devote several hours each week to practice. Fortunately, most styles of Tai Chi emphasize daily practice, even if it is only for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. A growing number of Tai Chi teachers, particularly in urban areas, offer classes specifically designed to meet the daily demands of modern life.
2) Some People May Not Benefit from Tai Chi:
Some people may not experience any benefits from the regular practice of Tai Chi. This is more likely to happen with people who have a severe systemic illness or who experience extreme forms of stress.
In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend that a person stop practicing Tai Chi if they become too ill to maintain the pace of the class or experience negative side effects from regular practice.
3) Tai Chi Has Been Associated With Several Cases of Serious Injury and Death:
In recent years, three people have died while taking part in a Tai Chi class, and several others have been seriously injured. In most cases, the people who died or were hurt had pre-existing medical conditions, such as a heart problem or a seizure disorder.
In a few cases, the Tai Chi teacher was to blame. In one case, for example, a teacher gave students incorrect instruction that resulted in injury.
Benefits of tai chi vs yoga:
1) Tai Chi is a Martial Art:
What distinguishes Tai Chi from other forms of exercise and meditation? The fact that it involves coordinated movements (called “forms”) makes Tai Chi somewhat similar to yoga, but the ultimate aim of yoga isn’t movement. In addition to helping people develop internal awareness and self-discipline, one goal of yoga is to help practitioners gain control over their bodily processes.
This focus on physical movement makes Tai Chi martial art, as opposed to merely an exercise program or spiritual discipline. Yoga postures (asanas) do involve some physical effort, but there is no such thing as a competitive yoga “match” or tournament, as there is in Tai Chi.
2) Tai Chi is Uniquely Suited to the Needs of Older People:
Tai Chi is often recommended for older people because it builds strength and balance while reducing the risk of falls and potential injuries. It’s also a program that older people can carry on indefinitely since there’s no such thing as a “top” or “bottom” to the practice.
With Tai Chi, people move at their own pace and stop practicing as soon as they feel that their skills have peaked. This makes it a good choice for older adults who may lack the stamina or endurance of younger practitioners.
3) Tai Chi is Very Flexible:
Because there are so many different styles of Tai Chi, it’s hard to generalize about the practice. Some forms of Tai Chi are quite gentle and slow-paced while others feature more vigorous movement.
What can be said with certainty is that almost all Tai Chi practitioners agree on one thing: the benefits associated with practicing this art depend largely on how much time you spend doing it.
Benefits of tai chi vs Zumba:
Although Tai Chi and Zumba provide many of the same physical benefits, there are some key differences. For example:
1) Energy Expenditure:
Because it’s a low-impact activity, Zumba generally requires less energy expenditure than Tai Chi. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 154-pound person will burn 360 calories per hour when doing Zumba.
The amount of energy expended practicing Tai Chi depends upon the style and intensity of each routine. However, in general, most styles of Tai Chi require less energy than Zumba and other high-intensity programs like aerobics and running.
2) Muscle Use:
Tai Chi is a low-impact activity that requires minimal use of the muscles. Relaxation and breathing techniques are used during each form to take the body through different muscle groups in an even manner. This makes it possible for Tai Chi practitioners to exercise without straining their muscles or feeling fatigued.
Zumba, on the other hand, uses many different muscle groups. This exercise program requires high-impact movement and places strain on muscles that are rarely used in other forms of exercise.
3) Flexibility & Range of Motion:
Tai Chi involves slow, fluid movements that improve flexibility while maintaining strength and stability throughout the body. Because it focuses on balance and precision, Tai Chi also improves the range of motion.
Zumba involves moving quickly throughout a variety of dance styles, which can improve both flexibility and range of motion if participants are properly warmed up beforehand. However, because it’s a high-intensity workout that uses many muscle groups simultaneously, Zumba is not usually recommended for people with physical limitations or injuries.
4) Muscle Toning:
Tai Chi tones muscles without causing injury, making it a good choice for older adults who have become less flexible over time. However, despite the slow pace of Tai Chi training, various styles can be adapted to suit participants’ fitness levels, regardless of age.
Zumba is also a good way to tone muscles, particularly those in the lower body. However, because it features a high-impact workout that involves many different muscle groups at once, Zumba can be quite strenuous on some people’s muscles and joints.
Tai Chi is considered a safe form of exercise for most people as long as they take the proper precautions and follow their physician’s advice. It can help people lose weight and reduce stress while lengthening muscle fibers, improving strength and flexibility without straining joints, muscles, or tendons.