What Happens To Your Body When You Do Tai Chi

Tai chi is an ancient form of Chinese exercise that might not look like much is going on, but the slow movements provide incredible benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Based on a variety of "meditative movements," tai chi is a different form of yoga with many different styles and a focus on steady motion and deep breathing. Tai chi is low-impact, non-competitive, and self-paced. You can do it anywhere, and you don't need any special equipment (via Mayo Clinic).

The goal of tai chi is flow over speed. Licensed acupuncturist, Tim Sobo, told the Cleveland Clinic, "You move your whole body as a unit. And since strength and balance are required, tai chi is great for your muscles and bones." The idea is to focus on your breath and movement as one, settling into a state of mindfulness. All of that movement and focus leads to many benefits, with stress reduction at the top of the list.

The mental and physical benefits of Tai Chi

One study found that regular practice of tai chi was associated with a reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression (via Psychiatric Clinics of North America). Along with decreased stress, evidence shows that consistent tai chi practice can boost your overall mood. Tai chi also promotes better sleep across all ages, and can improve cognitive decline in older adults (via Healthline).

Of the many physical benefits of tai chi, one major benefit is increased muscle strength, specifically within areas of the lower body such as the legs and knees. Your balance will also improve as you do tai chi, which is especially helpful for older adults and those diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Another perk includes the development of stronger bones. Evidence suggests that this practice helps reduce bone loss associated with age. Tai chi might also help decrease pain caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia. Regular practice can also promote weight loss.

Medical experts agree, regardless of one's fitness level, there's no reason not to give tai chi a try.