Build Strong Bones With Tai Chi!

By on 07/22/2015

Strong Bones

 

One of the most widely recognized benefits associated with tai chi is how regular practice helps to promote a balance between one’s physical body, emotions,  and the mental thoughts / mind.  However there are also numerous other  benefits of a regular tai chi practice.  These include benefits such as getting rid of muscle and joint stiffness, improving balance, improving the range of coordination and movement as well as relaxing the mind, stress reduction, improved pain control, and even improving bone strength for strong bones.   And while there may be other physical exercises that also create stronger bones, tai chi is the best choice for anyone seeking exercise that involve less intensity or joint strain.

 

strong bones

Looking at the over-50 population as well as those with osteoporosis and in need of improving bone strength, tai chi is particularly helpful  in building stronger bones and improving body balance.  It is proven to lower the risk of getting serious injuries on falling.  The elderly are faced with a higher risk of fractures since their bones have lost density with age.  Whereas a younger person can withstand a bone break with stride (albeit with pain too),  a bone fracture in a senior citizen can be a life-threatening situation.

However, tai chi will help strengthen the bones reducing the risk of injuries.  (Benefits vary depending on type of style chosen, frequency of practice, duration of each practice session, etc).  Another benefit to elderly of the practice  is that tai chi increases their confidence especially in physical abilities. Patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis have also shown remarkable results after enrolling in tai chi classes.  The patients recorded improvements in various area including bone density, leg strength, flexibility as well as body balance.

Researchers have also recommended tai chi to women who have already gone past menopause.  The practice has been found to be effective in preventing women from developing complications such as osteoarthritis, as they get older.  Physical activities and exercises such as weight bearing and tai chi build strong bones by increasing your bone density.  Other recommended types of osteoarthritis treatments include supplements, relaxation techniques, prescription medication and nutritional strategies.  You can also take an alternative medical approach such as traditional Chinese medicine or even Indian herbs.

There are three aspects of tai chi that make it particularly helpful as a gentle exercise source.   The first aspect is deliberate continuous movement.  This is an important aspect as it involves engagement of all the major body muscle groups.  Your body maintains a constant motion throughout the session without force, strain, heavy lifting, or  stop-and-start jerking movements.

The second aspect is deep breathing.  Slow, deep breathing  is crucial as it helps to not only improve circulation of nutrients, but also increases brain function by improving oxygenation.  The practice also helps to increase your lung’s capacity due to the guided deep breathing.

The third aspect is meditation.  Tai chi is helpful in achieving mind and body balance as it involves inner being concentration as well as keeping the mind focused throughout the session.  This will ensure that you are physically empowered, mentally alert, feeling calm as well as self aware.  This is also why tai chi is known as a “moving meditation” .

There are hundreds to styles of tai chi to choose from; following is a Tai Chi for Osteoporosis created by Dr. Paul Lam:

At the beginning, new practitioners of tai chi report feeling a sense of improved physical strength and empowerment.  As you progress, you will also realize improvement in your emotional well being as well as mental state.

It is generally recommended that people who have not been engaging in regular physical activity consult a doctor before beginning any new program,  especially if suffering from a health condition.  Your provider  can offer guidelines for you to keep in mind as it relates to your personal health condition.  In some rare situations s/he may ask for an ECG or other cardiopulmonary baseline tests before giving the green light to start exercising, but you will not know unless you talk it over with them.   These include conditions such as osteoarthritis, heart disease as well as pregnancy.

Most tai chi classes are normally offered in public places like gymnasiums, libraries, community centers, churches, and even hospital wellness centers or senior living facilities.

 

Resources:

 

 

Tai Chi and Bone Strength | Berkeley WellnessTai Chi and Bone Strength | Berkeley Wellness
http://www.berkeleywellness.com/fitness/exercise/article/tai-chi-and-bones

 

 


 

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