When you think of Tai Chi, you may picture a group of people doing slow, synchronized movements in a park, or the fictional warrior Worf from Star Trek practicing on the Holodeck. However, there are Tai Chi exercises for many types of movement, including walking—and you can even combine them with plain brisk walks to maximize benefits. Here’s how taking a Tai Chi walk can refresh the body and mind for people of all ages.
Walking is a form of Tai Chi moving meditation, and it’s healthy for body and mind alike. In fact, studies show that this exercise is even more beneficial for cognitive function than regular brisk walking. Better yet, anyone can learn it, regardless of fitness level. Here are some of the benefits of Tai Chi as a walking exercise:
- Inhibition and memory in older adults. Tai Chi and cardiovascular exercise have both been scientifically proven to improve working memory and inhibition (control over focus, thoughts, and remarks, popularly referred to as a filter) in older adults.
- Attention, memory, and perception in all healthy adults. Practicing Tai Chi on its own can help to enhance attention span, memory, and perceptiveness in healthy adults of any age.
- Physical fitness and dynamic balance ability. Both Tai Chi and brisk walking can improve cardiorespiratory fitness and dynamic balancing. This is the ability to maintain your balance while rotating your body in a circular manner without falling, much like a skilled ballerina or ice skater.
- General cognitive function. Both forms of exercise can improve cognitive function (how well the brain works). However, studies show that activity that requires more cognitive exercise (such as meditative movements) along with physical activity improve mental processing speed and function better than cardiovascular activity alone.
You can learn more about how to do Tai Chi walks and more about Tai Chi walking as part of Roots and Branches 5-Element QigongTM here.
The Tai Chi Foundation (TCF) is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes, funds and teaches programs that enable people to learn Tai Chi Chuan and embody its principles. The School of Tai Chi Chuan (STCC), a subset of TCF, exists to continue the teaching of the Cheng Man-Ch’ing style of Tai Chi Chuan as passed from Cheng Man-Ch’ing to Patrick Watson.
The Tai Chi Foundation's mission is to improve health, well-being, and awareness through the study, practice, and teaching of Tai Chi and Qigong by an increasing number of people worldwide.
There are over 200 TCF affiliated instructors teaching tai chi classes in 30 cities around the world. Find a class in your area, become a member, and support TCF in making the world a healthier and more mindful place today.