Heart Health with Tai Chi

“If you want to be healthy and live to one hundred, do qigong.” ~Mehmet Oz

Tai Chi and Qigong are ancient practices of mindful movement. The reason that they have continued to be practiced by millions for centuries is that they have major mental and physical benefits. Modern research is verifying these benefits. Mindful movement practice has been shown to improve balance, self-concept, and attention span, reduce falls, boost the immune system and helps to relieve symptoms of arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease and insomnia. It has been shown to improve sleep in the elderly http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/aging-healthily-sleeping-better-with-mindful-movement-practice/ and even improve cancer recovery http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/age-healthily-mindful-movement-and-cancer-recovery/.

Tai Chi involves slow motion smooth mindful movements. It doesn’t look much like an exercise and so it has the reputation of not being an exercise that improves cardiovascular health. Tai chi “does not supply the cardiovascular component that we’d be looking for in a well-rounded routine. The exertion level, while challenging, is not going to increase your heart rate.” – Jessica Matthews. This notion, however, turns out to be untrue.

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Tai Chi Training on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.”



Zheng and colleagues reviewed the literature on the effects of Tai Chi practice on heart and circulatory health in healthy adults. They find that there is considerable evidence that Tai Chi has positive effects on heart and circulatory health.

Tai Chi practice appears to improve blood pressure, heart stroke volume, resting heart rate, cardiac output, lung capacity, and heart and breathing endurance. It appears to do this without any adverse effects. This is remarkable, as all of the drugs used to produce these same effects have major side effects and adverse consequences. Hence, Tai Chi appears to be a safe and effective practice for heart and respiratory health.

So, practice Tai Chi and help maintain heart health.

“Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process.” ~Chungliang Al Huang

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

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