A simple 20 minute investment in yoga ot tai chi each morning can produce calm and peace, improved strength, limberness, better immune function and lower blood pressure according to many health experts. An important advantage of yoga and tai chi is that they combine key elements of exercise -- aerobic, strength training, core stability, flexibility and balance -- into unified approaches.
Certain benefits, particularly stress reduction, can be seen in as little as one day. People report better sleep and improvements in digestive health within the first few days. Better digestive health can mean better bowel function, decreased constipation and possibly less system toxcity. Practiced regularly, yoga and tai chi may help reverse some effects of aging, such as joint pain, restricted and narrowed movements.
Health Benefits of Yoga and Tai Chi
While tai chi and yoga offers many health benefits in as little as one session, after 10 to 12 weeks of regular sessions, practitioners often notice several significant health benefits in several health areas. For example,
- Reduces Stress. Yoga and tai chi's deep breathing exercises brings calming effect that reduces stress.
- Improves Poor Posture. With regular practice yoga and tai chi helps the spine gets stronger and students notice that it is actually more comfortable to sit and stand straight.
- Improves Scoliosis. The work on stretching and strengthening the spine has a dramatic effect on those working with a spinal curvature. Yoga and tai chi can help ease pain and the strength in the internal muscle structure of the back improves which starts to allow for great ease in movement and better posture.
- Reduces and/or Alleviates Headaches. Many postures in the tai chi and yoga sequence relieve tension and tightness in the neck and shoulder area. As this area relaxes, blood flow increases and headaches often decrease or go away entirely.
- Reduces Migraines. A study of yoga and people who experience migraines found that those doing yoga had less frequent and less intense migraines than did those taking medication.
- Lowers Blood Pressure. With regular practice yoga and tai chi students find that they have lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health.
- Reduces Digestive Problems. With regular practice yoga and tai chi students find that they don't crave junk food as much. This inclination towards a healthier diet, coupled with calming the nervous system, helps with long-term digestive issues. Yoga and tai chi also can help improve symptoms from common digestive disorders such as irritable bowel disorder (IBS).
- Reduces Constipation. Yoga and tai chi can relax the central nervous system by focusing on breathing increases a process called peristalsis. Peristalsis moves processed food through the digestive system and out of the body. Certain postures increase blood flow to the colon, further aiding the digestive process.
- Improves Arthritis. Yoga and tai chi can help alleviate joint stiffness and reduced mobility of arthritis sufferers.
- Alleviates/Improves Depression. Yoga and tai chi also helps alleviate depression. In addition to melatonin, the pineal gland also controls the release of serotonin, the "mood" hormone. As certain postures flush the pineal gland with oxygenated blood its function improves and emotional highs and low begin to even out.
- Reduces Anxiety. Yoga and tai chi also helps alleviate anxiety.
- Reduces/Improves Insomnia. Several yoga and tai chi postures focus on increasing blood flow through the pineal gland where melatonin, the hormone released to induce deep sleep, is released.
- Improves your Sense of Well Being. Yoga and tai chi can increase your energy and improve your overall sense of well being.
About the Author
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, weightlifting, nutrition, weight loss, cancer, disease prevention, heart health, alzheimers, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar's work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of MuscleMagFitness.com, and MyBestHealthPortal.com; two very popular health, fitness, nutrition and anti aging information web sites.
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA