Tai Chi for Weight Loss

A Fun Way to Shape Up: Tai Chi

The South Beach Dietis a lifestyle plan that emphasizes delicious, nutrient-dense foods and regular physical activity. For those who are new to exercise, don't worry. Dr. Agatston, preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Dietrecommends easing into it with activities you enjoy. One popular option is Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art practiced worldwide both as a form of meditation and as a strengthening technique. Its graceful, fluid movements provide a wealth of physical and mental benefits.

In studies conducted by the National Institute of Aging (NIA), older participants found that practicing Tai Chi weekly decreased their risk of falling and greatly improved their balance and strength. Even for those who are not elderly, additional research suggests that Tai Chi can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, enhance blood circulation, improve flexibility, and reduce stress, all of which are important for long-term heart health. Tai Chi can also boost mental alertness -- helpful for people of any age.

The beauty of Tai Chi is that it can be performed by most people, despite physical limitations. The movements are easy on the joints and muscles, and require no special equipment or setting. Many people perform the exercises in their living room, backyard, or at the local park.

While you don't need expensive clothes or equipment to perform Tai Chi, you will need some instruction. Options include taking a group class, hiring a private instructor, or checking out one of the many books and videos on the subject. Keep in mind that it takes time and practice to perform Tai Chi moves. But it's well worth the effort. You'll become better at it with each session -- just as you do with every fitness activity.

Finally, if you're participating in The South Beach DietFitness Club, you can still enjoy Tai Chi. In fact, both programs aim to improve your flexibility and strength. And mixing up your workouts is a great way to prevent boredom and help motivate you to stick with it!

posted by Diet & Body @ 4:19 AM


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