Tai Chi, over the years, has gained a reputation as being ‘exercise for the elderly’ due to its slow, controlled and low-impact movements – for good reason, quite frankly.
It is ideal for those who are in their more ‘senior years’ as it can help with arthritic pain, lower blood pressure, help your joints and maintain your stability. However, I strongly believe it is not just for those 60+ and that it can benefit all, no matter what your age.
Originally developed as a martial-art in 13th Century China, it consists of combining deep breathing and relaxation with flowing movements, a form of ‘meditation in movement’, tapping into both your physical and mental elements.
Given the unnecessary pressures put on young people in the 21st Century, practising Tai Chi can be an excellent release for your mind; providing respite from the fast pace of everyday life. Recent statistics show that rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the last 25 years – and, of course, something needs to change to combat this. Whilst, unfortunately, we cannot change the fabric of modern society, we can take a step back and focus on ourselves and our well-being.
Tai chi can, for some, can provide alleviation to depression, anxiety, anger, fatigue and mood disturbances – nevertheless, additional research is needed for this to be conclusive. On a personal level, being someone who can suffer from bouts of feeling particularly low and being generally quite melancholic, I have found that Tai chi can restore the ‘mood equilibrium’ within my body and soul. My thoughts become centred and calm in direct correspondence with the slow, controlled movements of my body – providing a good, positive foundation for the rest of my day.
Whilst I am not saying this is some miracle cure, (if it was, I’d bottle it and sell it £££££), I think young people should simply give it a try. Tai chi isn’t confined to elderly people in a park with osteoarthritis. If anything, it gets you to put down your phone for half an hour and reconnect with yourself and your surroundings.