A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has found that people who regularly practice Tai Chi have significantly higher arterial compliance, and greater muscular strength in both their knee extensors and flexors. These results are in comparison of people who do not practice Tai Chi.
Having greater arterial compliance is a fancy way of saying that Tai Chi practitioners have less stiffness in their arteries. Our arteries have a tendency to stiffen as we age. This can lead to increased blood pressure and reduced blood flow throughout our bodies. Improving arterial compliance is a way to keep our bodies young.
What is Tai Chi?
About twelve years ago, I had the opportunity to live in the Shanghai area for 13 months.
It was always interesting to watch the groups of elderly Chinese who would assemble on the sidewalks and go through their slow and deliberate, choreographed Tai Chi moves. Not only is it a great exercise program, but it is also a great way to stay socially connected with like-minded friends.
Tai Chi is actually "Tai Chi Chuan." It literally means "Supreme Ultimate Fist."
It is a type of Chinese martial art practiced for defense training. However, most practice the slow movement form of Tai Chi for its health benefits.
Tai Chi Benefits
According to the lead investigator, Dr. William Tsang, Tai Chi practitioners in comparison to those who do not practice this martial art form
- Have better arterial compliance
- Have better knee muscular strength
Tai Chi DVD
Element: Tai Chi for Beginners (amazon.com)
ScienceDaily: "Older Subjects Who Regularly Practice Tai Chi Found To Have Better Arterial Compliance and Greater Muscle Strength"
Wikipedia: "Tai Chi Chuan"