Benefits and Disadvantages of Tai Chi
Tai chi has recently regained popularity, despite the fact that it has been around for centuries. It’s understandable that more people are looking for a gentle workout that can help them feel more centred and calm while also improving their physical health.
Continue reading for more information on the benefits and drawbacks of tai chi, as well as how to get started.
What is tai chi, and how does it differ from other forms of exercise?
According to Nadia Murdock, a mindset and movement expert in New York City, tai chi is a Chinese martial art that can be used for both self-defense and moving meditation.
“Tai chi movements are slow and deep,” she explains. “Each movement flows seamlessly into the next, allowing the body to move in a continuous, gentle motion.” Cloud hands, or yun shou, is a movement in which you move your hands like clouds on a windy day.
According to Murdock, most tai chi classes start with a two- to five-minute warm-up to loosen up the muscles and joints. Head rolls, shoulder rolls, and reaching for your toes are common warm-up exercises, as are opening exercises such as hip and ankle circles.
In tai chi, the yin and yang concept is also significant. According to Murdock, too much yang movement without stillness in the body can lead to stress and exhaustion. Yin, on the other hand, provides a sense of stillness that aids in the deepest nourishment of the body. Incorporating meditative movement into yang activity aids in the integration of the two.
Benefits of Tai Chi/ Advantages:
- It reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
While more research is needed, studies have shown that meditative exercise, such as tai chi, can improve psychological well-being.
If you’re depressed or anxious, Tai Chi could help you feel better. According to preliminary research, doing tai chi on a regular basis can help with anxiety and depression symptoms. The nervous system and mood-regulating hormones are thought to benefit from slow, mindful breaths and movements. More research is being conducted to determine if there is a clear link between tai chi and a better mood.
- It could aid your multitasking abilities.
Tai chi has been shown to improve “executive cognitive function,” which includes multitasking, decision-making, and time management.
- It boosts agility, flexibility, and balance.
While tai chi is known for being gentle and slow, research has shown that it can help older adults with flexibility and balance.
- It strengthens and defines muscles.
In older adults, tai chi can help them improve their balance and motor function while also lowering their fear of falling. After 8 weeks of practise, it can also reduce actual falls, and after 16 weeks, it can significantly reduce them. Because fear of falling can reduce independence and quality of life, and falls can lead to serious complications, tai chi may also help older adults improve their quality of life and general well-being.
- It aids in the improvement of sleep quality.
Tai chi is no exception to the rule that exercise and physical activity improve sleep quality. It has been shown in one study to help both healthy adults and those with chronic illnesses sleep better.
- Helps you lose weight
Tai chi can help you lose weight if you do it regularly. In one study, a group of adults who practised tai chi for 45 minutes five times a week saw their weight change. Without making any additional lifestyle changes, these adults lost a little more than a pound at the end of the 12 weeks.
- It helps the immune system to function better.
Tai chi has a minor effect on increasing immune cells, according to a recent study.
- It is a pain reliever.
Patients with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tension headaches can benefit from twice-weekly tai chi, according to research.
- It’s not harmful to people who have coronary artery disease.
If you have coronary heart disease, Tai Chi is a safe form of moderate exercise you can try. Regular tai chi practises can help you increase physical activity, lose weight, and improve your quality of life after a heart attack or stroke.
Disadvantages of Tai Chi
Despite the benefits of tai chi it possess, the martial art has some disadvantages that should be understood. The following are the disadvantages of tai chi:
- Learning and mastering Tai Chi takes a long time.
Some people do not see the part of learning martial arts as fun. Others lack the patience for it, and the slow and steady rate at which one “levels up” can be aggravating. Learning the basic form and moves can take more than three months, and some would argue that you never truly stop learning after that.
- The Tai Chi that is currently taught in classes is not the original form.
Unfortunately, most instructors and masters today teach a watered-down version of the original Tai Chi. Most Tai Chi classes today teach around 24 Tai Chi moves, whereas the original martial art had over 100. The Chinese government ordered the Chinese Sports Committee to create a simplified version of the art in 1956 so that it could be taught to the general public. People are typically taught the simplified version in modern Tai Chi classes today.
- Tai Chi instructors and classes are not all genuine.
This means you might be able to pick up the skill, but not correctly. Because many different versions of Tai Chi have evolved over time, it can be difficult to tell if your class is authentic or not.
- It might not be right for you, which can be discouraging.
Tai Chi is a martial art that is not for everyone. While the martial art is thought to have numerous health benefits, some people are advised not to practise Tai Chi in certain circumstances. Hernia, pregnancy, severe osteoporosis, and any fractures or existing sprains are all situations where someone should stop practising or do a more simplified version of the movements.
- Tai Chi is a martial art that is non-violent.
Some people believe that self-defense must include some form of violence, but Tai Chi is not about violence. Tai Chi turns the opponent’s own energy against him by not hitting him.
According to legend, the inventor of Tai Chi was inspired by the combat movements of a crane and a snake. As witnessed by Tai Chi’s founder, a crane swooped down from a tree and launched an attack on a snake. The snake would deceptively coil away and evade danger every time the crane struck it with its beak. This is the foundation of Tai Chi self-defense. If you are looking for a martial art that involves contact and sparring, Tai Chi will not meet your needs.
- Modern Tai Chi is not the same as it once was.
When it comes to Tai Chi, some martial arts schools appear to have lost their way. Instead of teaching martial arts, they concentrate on health and stress management. As a result, finding a Tai Chi class that teaches the applications in their entirety may be difficult. If you’re the type of student who wants to know everything there is to know about the art they’re learning and actively participate, Tai Chi may not be for you, unless you find an authentic teacher.
- Tai Chi can be uncomfortable at first.
The movements are difficult to learn, despite the fact that the art form is not high-energy or aerobic in any way. Tai Chi gives you a full-body workout. In fact, when done correctly, the movements work out all of the muscles in the body. Because the movements are slow and gentle, first-timers often do not expect to feel any pain. Most people experience some exercise-related pain in their legs and arms in the evening or morning.
However, this isn’t a permanent disadvantage. The more fit you become and the more comfortable you become with the movements, the less painful it should be.
- Tai Chi is meant to be done in the open air and in nature.
This can be unpleasant if you live in a cold or sunny climate. You might feel awkward if you don’t feel at ease exercising outside. Indoor Tai Chi classes are available, but they are not the same as outdoor classes, and the concept may be lost.
- Learning Tai Chi on your own or with the help of videos is difficult.
You may find it difficult to learn the art if you do not have the time or money to enroll in a class. During the early stages of learning, a master, instructor, or Tai Chi guru is especially important.
- It’s difficult to get into the right frame of mind.
This is especially true for those who have difficulty concentrating. It may even appear monotonous to some. Many people who stick with it and practise it find that the quiet mindset is beneficial to their mental and emotional health.
- Tai Chi classes can be physically demanding.
While the classes are low-impact, they can also be long and intensive, which can be exhausting. Learning and remembering new movements can be taxing on both the body and the mind.
- Tai Chi is a time-consuming exercise.
As a result, learning Tai Chi can be time-consuming. If you want to develop your movements steadily, you should practise Tai Chi for at least 20 minutes each day. Given how busy most people’s schedules are, not everyone has 20 minutes a day to devote to this type of exercise.
- Tai Chi is a non-competitive martial art form.
Many people want to compete in martial arts and want to learn how to do so. Tai Chi isn’t competitive, and it emphasises a different mindset and skill set. This can be demotivating for some people.
- Tai Chi does not get you particularly fit, which can be discouraging for some.
Tai Chi practitioners can tone and shape their bodies, but it will not get you as fit as running or cycling. If you exercise every day but still get out of breath walking up a flight of stairs, you may be frustrated that your chosen exercise method isn’t helping you improve your fitness.
- Tai Chi has the potential to become addictive.
Some people become a little obsessed with their morning session because it makes them feel so good. New Tai Chi converts are known to devote a significant amount of time to researching, learning, and obsessing over their new form of meditation. You may even find yourself wishing to retreat to your quiet spot for the clarity of mind that only a Tai Chi session can provide.
Do the benefits of Tai Chi outweigh the disadvantages?
The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Those who are committed to Tai Chi and have truly embraced its application, concept, and movements appear to stay with it for a long time. In their lives, it becomes a regular form of exercise and therapy (meditation). Tai Chi’s mental, physical, and emotional health benefits cannot be overstated.
To sum up,
It is self-evident that the health benefits of Tai Chi far outnumber the drawbacks. Tai Chi may be the answer if you’re looking for a low-impact form of exercise that allows you to quiet your mind and find inner peace while also strengthening and toning your muscles.