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The #1 Workout for Older Adults! How & Why it Works (#2 Surprised Everyone!)

By on June 6, 2017
Want a quick physical and mental health boost? Then you have to try tai chi–a traditional Chinese martial art which boasts a multitude of health benefits. As it combines both self defense and meditation, you can bet it’s good for you; here are 3 good reasons to try it out.

It Reduces Joint Pain

Tai chi movements are notorious for being beneficial for older adults, as the movements are both easy to follow and arthritis-friendly. Research also shows it could help reduce a specific type of pain caused by knee osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis.

In a 2009 study appearing in Arthritis Care & Research, participants engaged in 60-minute tai chi sessions twice per week for 12 weeks. Each session focused on self-massage, proper movement, relaxation, and breathing techniques. At the end of this test period, researchers found it improved several symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, including:

  • Knee pain
  • Physical function
  • Depression caused by limited mobility

Now that’s a good reason to start doing tai chi.

It Improves Depression

Tai chi’s effects on mental health are well known–but how it improves depression is significant.

A study appearing in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry examined how biweekly tai chi sessions helped Chinese-Americans with mild to moderate depression feel better, and it made a serious difference.

Compared to people who did not practice tai chi, the severity of their depression decreased, improving their quality of life.

However, it did not cure their depression, and experts warn that it should not replace conventional treatments for the condition. Still, if you’re feeling a bit down, give tai chi a try–it’s an effective mood booster.

It Makes You Smarter

If you could use a quick brain boost–or even want to reduce your risk of dementia–here’s yet another reason why you need to try tai chi.

A study appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people who practiced tai chi three times per week had bigger brains compared to those who did not engage in the practice.

This, in turn, also improved their cognition, reducing their risk of cognitive problems, such as dementia.

To reap these benefits, however, prepare to practice tai chi frequently–2 to 3 sessions per week is your best bet.

Readers: Now it’s your turn to chime in. Have you tried tai chi before? Let us know your experiences below!

Sources:
Tai Chi Exercise Reduces Knee Osteoarthritis Pain in the Elderly, Research ShowsScienceDaily.com
Study Finds Tai Chi Significantly Reduces Depression Symptoms in Chinese AmericansMassGeneral.org
Tai Chi Increases Brain Size, Benefits Cognition in Randomized Controlled Trial of Chinese ElderlyScienceDaily.com

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