Virtually anyone can do this gentle, graceful form of exercise -- sometimes called "meditation in motion" -- which is why it's one of the fastest-growing physical activities worldwide. A series of stretches and rhythmic movements based on a Chinese martial art, tai chi is performed slowly, at your own pace, with a focus on breathing patterns. One move flows into the next, so you're constantly moving. A June 2012 study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease found that older Chinese adults who practiced tai chi three times a week increased brain volume and improved cognition over eight months.
Great for: Stress reduction, stretching, improving balance, reducing pain, reducing the risk of falling.
Start here: Watch the tai chi online instructional videos at the Arthritis Foundation's website. Or, look for classes at your local community center, YMCA/YWCA, or fitness center. Tai chi can be done alone, but it's great to learn from an instructor.
See the simple beauty of tai chi in motion:
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