Sports-Tai Chi

TAI CHI and Its Benefits for Sports

By Tai Chi Master Instructor Rosann Argenti, BSW

Tai Chi/Chi-Kung (pronounced tie jee/chee gung) can be described as the meritorious effort toward holistic health. Tai Chi was originally developed as a martial art in China over 1,000 years ago. Since 1950, the Chinese National Sports Committee has categorized Tai Chi/Chi-Kung, as a medically instituted technology, and as the leading therapeutic method for preventive medicine, self-supporting health care, and convalescence. It is used as a comprehensive strategy for affecting a spectrum of debilitating conditions, both physically and psychologically.

This graceful and soft exercise-form is known throughout the world as the science of “moving meditation” and, in this modern light, this treasure of China is universally touted as a total fitness program. Through regular practice, the whole body will develop in balance, due to the nature of the artful exercises that render one’s thinking lucid and one’s mind peaceful, steadily increasing vital force and physical energy. Tai Chi’s mind/body synchronization techniques are highly effective to prepare for any sporting activity.

Sports-Tai Chi consists of a combination of exercise techniques that utilizes and distributes “electromagnetic force” to the various systems that comprise the human organism. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this life force is known as “chi” (pronounced “chee”). When we are born, each of us is blessed with a wellspring of this energy, which keeps us alive and functioning. When imbalance or disease occurs, the chi-force may be blocked or diminished. Tai Chi affords us the opportunity to regain this essential strength and return to improved health and vitality.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Tai Chi’s slow, deliberate circular movements combined with deep, regular breathing can increase your circulation, relaxing your mind and body and easing chronic pain. (“Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource”, December 2000) A variety of studies have demonstrated that Tai Chi qualifies as an aerobic exercise increasing cardiovascular strength, flexibility and respiratory capacity. It has been reported to lower blood pressure, improve balance, ameliorate the effects of your medical treatments, reduce pain and help you manage your symptoms. This is well known among doctors who prescribe it for nervous disorders, fibro-muscular syndrome, arthritic and joint-related problems, as well as for spinal column debilities.

Tai Chi is also used to regulate metabolism and nerve function, flush out the tissues and improve circulation of the blood, as well as to strengthen the body’s resistance to disease.

The “icing on the cake” is that Tai Chi does not require any previous physical conditioning or any equipment. There are no age limitations, it demands little time, and there is virtually no risk of physical injury.