The Just One Thing series from Dr Michael Mosley is a radio show on little ideas that might make a big difference to your life. This week he’s looking at Tai Chi, and seeing what difference 15 minutes a day can make.
Dr Mosely looks at the scientific evidence for Tai Chi being as effective as conventional exercise. It’s quite interesting. One study said Tai Chi was better than brisk walking, for example, which is something I’ve always wondered about. He also looks at Tai Chi’s effect on the brain.
Here’s the blurb
“If you’re looking to add more exercise into your lifestyle why not consider Tai Chi. It’s an ancient Chinese martial art – it’s sometimes called “meditation in motion”. It’s a series of different postures that gently flow into each other in slow movements. One of the big benefits to Tai Chi is that it can significantly enhance the activity of our immune system. And although it looks gentle, it can be a surprisingly good workout! Michael Mosley speaks to Dr. Parco Siu from the University of Hong Kong, who has been studying the health benefits of Tai Chi for over a decade. His research has revealed that Tai Chi can lead to faster brain benefits than other exercises. He also found that Tai Chi was as effective as conventional exercise like moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or muscle strengthening activities for reducing body weight and visceral fat!”
Listen here. (15 minutes long).
2 thoughts on “Just one Thing – Dr Michael Mosley on Tai Chi (BBC Radio 4)”
In my experience, most of the people talking about the “health benefits” of Taijiquan are just “forms” people and they’re at best talking about the health benefits of low-impact, low-aerobic exercise. One widely-quoted “teacher” was last seen hurriedly trying to learn things like push-hands, etc., to bolster the idea that he indeed knew something about Taijiquan and didn’t just post questionable studies involving old people and forms.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Science and measuring of biological response to exercise has come a long way since the 1970s when a good friend of mine was one of those administering tests at a local university in the actual exercise value of taiji long, slow form. Not surprising to me, the results were that 20 minutes of long form by an experienced practitioner was equivalent to 20 minutes of brisk walking in terms of health benefits.
The only problem with prescribing regular taiji practise is that most beginners will do it only because it seems easier than jogging, going to a gym or doing aerobics.
Not to crap on taiji solo form work as it can bring a lot of pleasure and, depending on the style you learn, even make you sweat.