Tai Chi for Fitness and Mental Clarity

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Right now is a good time to focus on ongoing fitness practices that can help to keep us healthy all year long.  One daily practice you may want to consider is Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is a series of physical postures, or "forms", which are linked slowly and precisely by meditative movement.  It originated in China more than 1,000 years ago and is considered a martial art that is practiced primarily for its health benefits, including reduction of tension and stress.

The positions and pacing of Tai Chi are designed to foster relaxation and clearing of the mind as practitioners move the various forms.  The flowing movements can also benefit health by helping to prevent the physical stiffness which often results in diminished flexibility.  In addition, the practice of Tai Chi promotes a sense of balance and poise, which may reduce the risk of falling -- of particular benefit as we age.

While Tai Chi may appear to be more a slow and graceful form of movement than actual "exercise," it is based on sound physiological principles that promote overall health and well being.  Its rhythmic motions move stress loads from one area of the body to another in a smooth manner that can increase overall physical strength and stamina.

The coordinated breathing which is incorporated into the practice contributes to its meditative qualities and helps individuals to facilitate a sense of connection with their own internal energy flow and the essential rhythms of their bodies.

The low-impact and non-stressful nature of Tai Chi movements combine to make it a practical form of exercise and meditative movement for many individuals of all ages.  However, always be sure to check with your own physician or healthcare adviser before embarking on a new exercise program.

To find Tai Chi classes near you, check with area yoga practitioners, local park districts, fitness centers or community colleges.  If you prefer to explore Tai Chi in the privacy of your own home, there are also DVDs available for purchase or from your area library.  One of my personal favorites is Scott Cole's Discover Tai Chi AM/PM Workouts and he offers beginner titles as well.  Again, check with your own healthcare professional or adviser before determining the best choice for you.

“Speaking of Healthcare” is the official blog of Assured Healthcare Staffing. Please LIKE us on Facebook to receive health and wellness tips and more! Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.