New to Exercise? Why Tai Chi Might Be the Perfect Introduction

Tai chi's gentle exercises help relieve stress and lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
April 27, 2020 Updated: May 5, 2020

So, you want to start exercising but have no idea where to start. You’re essentially confined to your property, so that doesn’t help. You also aren’t necessarily interested in sweating, huffing, and puffing. You might not even be able to move very well.

That scenario can look a little bleak given the limited options. Fortunately, there is an effective exercise that can benefit your body and mind.

Tai chi is a great introduction to exercise. It requires very little space, virtually no equipment, and is accessible to people who are not in good physical shape or have mobility troubles. It can help promote balance, strength, pain relief, lower blood pressure, heart health, and help reduce stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Sometimes called “meditation in motion,” tai chi is a slow, flowing form of exercise made up of a series of choreographed movements. For those with impaired mobility, it can be performed with a chair.

It is safe for people without good flexibility but can also be used by more fit, mobile individuals as a way to enjoy a moderate aerobic workout.

There is plenty of data to highlight the health benefits of tai chi, but it’s most impressive effects may be stress and blood pressure reduction. One large-scale review from 2008 found that in people with high blood pressure, tai chi was able to substantially lower both systolic and diastolic pressure.

Drops in diastolic, the bottom number in a reading, went down between 7 and 32 points. Systolic, the top number, went down between 2 and 18 points.

Tai chi might be the perfect way for you to start your exercise journey. All you need are some loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and some sneakers. You can learn moves and follow instructors online or order some DVDs to your door.

Once stay-at-home orders subside, you can look for tai chi groups that meet in local parks or community centers.

This form of exercise is accessible and highly beneficial to almost anybody. It is a great first step for new exercisers or could be another tool in the bag for those with more experience.

Devon Andre holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic science from the University of Windsor in Canada and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Andre is a journalist for BelMarraHealthwhich first published this article.