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Tai-Chi

by WLR Staff, Adam Vaughan

Calming, Energizing and Health Boosting

Tai-Chi (T'ai chi chuan - pronounced Tie Chee) is a calming and energizing activity which has a wide range of health benefits. Suitable for any age group, Tai-Chi is said to slow the ageing process and help older participants by improving balance and spatial perception. Part of its appeal is that it can be practised anywhere, anytime and there is no need for either equipment or a partner to practise with.

Benefits

Tai-Chi is an all-round mind and body experience which will tone up your body's muscles. It improves your flexibility and can help alleviate chronic pain (ie. back and neck aches), lower blood pressure as well as increase your breathing capacity. On top of this, Tai-Chi focuses your body and mind by bringing them together reducing stress and stress-related disorders.

Burn Rate

Depending on your weight and exertion level you'll burn between 85-320 extra calories* in a half-hour session.

*Extra calories are those you burn on top of the calories you use for basic day-to-day living. Inputting your exercise into your exercise diary will calculate the number of calories you will burn, based on your weight.

Getting Started

To master the movement of this art you need to find a group run by a qualified instructor. There are more and more local groups getting started. Classes cost around £4 - £7 each and are usually run as an on-going programme. See 'Helpful Sites' to locate a class in your area. Once you have learned the correct movements you are on your way and can practise at your convenience.

Kit Bag

Comfy clothing in which you find it easy to move and stretch is essential. Other than this, no special equipment is needed. You don't even need trainers as most practise Tai-Chi barefooted.

Safety

There is no real danger of hurting yourself with Tai-Chi. Its co-ordinated, graceful movements are low impact and therefore pose very little threat of self-injury through strain or exertion.

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Helpful Sites

www.zhong-ding.com Offers all sorts of info on Tai-Chi but most importantly lists classes available in all areas of the UK.

www.taichiproductions.com Offers articles on the subject as well as a newsletter and video images. There is also a section where you can ask 'Dr. Lam' any questions.

www.tai-chi.com An online Tai-Chi magazine.

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