f you haven’t exercised for a while because you’re too pushed for time, or you’re recovering from an injury or illness, you may be missing that wonderful feeling of wellbeing that you get when your body has been put through its paces. If you are then it could be that tai chi is just the thing for you.
It was originally developed as a martial art in 13th-century China, and today it’s practised around the world as a health-promoting exercise. Deemed a ‘form of meditation in motion’ promoting serenity and inner peace tai chi is the perfect tonic for the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Tai chi combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow, graceful, continuous movements. Done correctly, you'll find that the tai chi poses flow smoothly from one into another. It’s considered safe for people of all ages and levels of fitness as it doesn’t put too much stress on your muscles and joints. In fact research has found that tai chi has positive effects on balance control and flexibility, and has been shown to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also an effective means of alleviating stress and anxiety – so it really is a holistic approach to fitness and wellbeing – helping both mind and body in tandem.
Fitness First tai chi classes strike a perfect balance between exercise and relaxation, combining deep yogic breathing with slow and gentle movement. Beginners are eased in gently with steady low-impact sequences. During the session you’ll focus both your body and your mind on a series of controlled movements and postures. This helps to develop muscle strength, co-ordination, balance and flexibility. Meditating on the movements will bring calm, clear your mind of the stresses of the day and enhance your mood.