Practice Tai Chi to Look Younger; Other Research-Proven Health Benefits

Photo:Kevin Poh/Flickr

Photo:Kevin Poh/Flickr

Regular practice of Tai Chi, a traditional Chinese martial art, can help you look younger, a new study says.

For the study, a team of researchers from Taiwan selected 32 people, aged below 25 and divided them into three groups according to the type of task they were assigned for one year. The first group practised Tai Chi (TC), while the second group engaged in brisk walking (BW). The third group did not involve in any particular type of exercise (no exercise habit or NEH).

At the end of the study, researchers found a considerable increase in the production of an important stem cell known as CD34+ ( cluster of differentiation 34 expressing) in the Tai Chi group  than the other two.  CD34+ plays a major role in cell-renewal, differentiation and proliferation and so may help slow the ageing process, researchers said.

“It is possible that Tai Chi may prompt vasodilation and increase blood flow,” study corresponding author Dr. Shinn-Zong Lin of the Center for Neuropsychiatry, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, said in a news release. “Considering that BW may require a larger space or more equipment, Tai Chi seems to be an easier and more convenient choice of anti-aging exercise.”

Similarly, according to the authors, practicing the ancient martial art can also help in treating Parkinson’s disease (a degenerative disorder of nervous system) and fibromyalgia (a disorder that leads to sleep problems, fatigue and muscle pain). Following are some health benefits of Tai Chi, as provided by the Mayo Clinic, USA:

  • Stress management
  • Relieves pain
  • Helps manage high blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Helps improve balance
  • Improves energy, stamina, balance, flexibility and muscle strength
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Improves quality of sleep

Following are some research-proven health benefits of Tai Chi provided by Harvard Medical School:

  • Maintains bone density after menopause
  • Improves quality of life in breast cancer patients
  • Arthritis management
  • Benefits heart patients
  • Improves standing balance in stroke survivors
  • Treats hypertension, Parkinson’s disease
  • Treats sleep deprivation
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