Not too many people will argue with the statement that North American culture is fast-paced. There never seems to be enough time to do all things that need to be done, whether it’s going to work, caring for kids or aging parents, doing chores, making meals, or keeping track of finances. While it’s good to have a full, active life, sometimes this frenetic pace can lead to stress and stress can lead to sleepless nights. And when you don’t get enough sleep, you open a Pandora’s Box of potential ailments that run the gamut from concentration problems to chronic fatigue.
To help de-stress and keep your body well clear of the sleep-deprived threshold that leads to health problems, why not try some tai chi? The exercises are not only soothing for your mind, but they can help your muscles stretch and tone, too. Having trouble motivating yourself? Tai chi costs very little, it’s designed so that anyone can do it, regardless of physical shape or health issues, and it can pretty much be done anywhere, including your neighborhood park.
Now for some health news from a recent clinical trial. Researchers have evaluated the effects of tai chi exercise on the sleep quality of elderly residents in an elderly care home. Sixty-two participants, aged 65 years and older, were divided into two groups. The first group performed 20 minutes of tai chi exercises, three times a week, while the second group acted as control. The research team found that participants performing tai chi had significant improvement in sleep quality compared to the control group.
Tai chi is a great way to de-stress and prevent cares and worries from affecting your health (see article, This Mild Exercise Is Best for Your Heart). You can also boost your immune system at the same time and exercise your muscles. You may find that tai chi could improve your digestion, lower blood pressure and help stabilize blood sugar. Some research has even suggested that tai chi may help prevent cancer.
Before you start, here’s some health advice: get some help when you first begin tai chi. Learning to do the movements properly and with good balance will help to open all the channels in your body to allow tai chi’s healing effects to take hold.
Hosseini, H., et al., “The effect of Ti Chi exercise on the
sleep quality of the elderly residents in Isfahan, Sadeghieh
elderly home,” Iran J. Nurs. Midwifery Res., 2011 Winter;