Looking for the hottest fitness trend? You may be surprised to learn that in 2018, what's old – really, really old – is new again. Tai chi, the ancient martial art, has been practiced for more than 1,000 years but these days, people can't seem to get enough of it.
What is Tai Chi?
According to the Tai Chi for Health Institute, tai chi is "an art embracing the mind, body and spirit." Originating in ancient China, tai chi can be practiced at any fitness level and nearly any age. It was introduced to the Western world in the 1960's and is often recommended as an alternative medicine. Although there are may styles of tai chi, the Yang style is most commonly practiced in the West and is recognized for its slow-motion, short-form movements.
"Although an art with great depth of knowledge and skill, it can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits. For many, it continues as a lifetime journey."
While tai chi has been primarily recognized for its mental health benefits, it's gaining recognition for its physical health benefits as well. Pinterest included tai chi in its top 100 trends to try in 2018, noting a 189% increase in searches.
Meanwhile, Millennials are taking up tai chi to reduce stress and become more "grounded," and Google headquarters has been offering tai chi to its employees for the past couple of years, according to a CNN report.
Benefits of Tai Chi
There are many mind-body benefits to the practice of tai chi, making it one of the fastest growing fitness trends. Benefits include:
• improved sleep
How to Learn Tai Chi
Tai chi's recent popularity appears to correlate with the increased popularity of yoga, with many people replacing yoga with tai chi or using it as a complementary exercises to help build their yoga skills. And they seem to be onto something. According to Harvard Health, "when practiced regularly, tai chi can be comparable to resistance training and brisk walking."
Further, Time magazine recently proclaimed that "tai chi is as good for you as CrossFit" and that "tai chi was nearly as effective as jogging at lowering risk of death among men."
Which is all good news for those of us looking for a new activity to add to our routine! Take note that experts say it's important to learn tai chi from a qualified instructor. Classes, videos and books readily available to help you get started.
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