Yoga and Tai Chi: Exercises That Renew, Rejuvenate and Have Real Anti-Aging Effects

iStock_44578688_MEDIUMWestern medicine, our exercise and our technology are no doubt some of the world’s finest, but, let's face it, our physicians rely heavily on prescription medications.

It’s sad, but true, that America is a pill popping society. If you have an ache, pop a pill. If you're under stress, pop a pill. If you're depressed, pop a pill. If you are constipated, pop a pill. If you are addicted to medication, pop another pill.

Maybe it’s time to rethink that strategy or “way of life.” Taking medication for high blood pressure, of course, is mandatory, as well as Insulin shots for diabetes. Those medications are life preserving, and we are fortunate to live in an age where medication for those who need it every day can continue to maintain their quality of life, but to equate every personal ache or pain or emotional dilemma to a pill is lazy, and a lazy society we have become. Exercise? For many it’s not an option.

The Benefits Of An Exercise Regimen

Many equate exercise to going to the gym and working out on state-of-the-art equipment such as weight machines or stair-step climbers or the treadmill. However, the mere thought of exercise to many is revolting. People would rather simply not exercise than spend half an hour walking on a treadmill because it seems boring, requiring a “let's do this” attitude, an attitude that so many of us struggle to embrace.

It’s true. Exercise takes time, commitment, and above all else, discipline, but exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. There are other forms of exercise that can work for you if you have an open mind, so if you think yoga is something that’s practiced only by yogis in India, please reconsider.

Both Yoga and Tai Chi are neither boring or strenuous, but the health benefits are every bit as advantageous, perhaps more so, than a vigorous hour long workout at the gym.

The workouts are designed to promote energy and not make you sweat until you want to drop from exhaustion. It’s a different mindset and a different workout methodology aside from the “typical” weight machine or treadmill.

Quality versus Quantity

A big part of yoga and Tai Chi is to focus on the breath while moving gracefully. When you practice, you are encouraged to breathe, inhale when exerting and exhale when relaxing. Although it may sound boring, you will soon learn to appreciate, perhaps even in time love it, because the exercise is “low key,” and the fluid motions are designed to help you overall with the characteristics of grace and balance.

In other words you do not have to wear yourself out to the point of fatigue for the opportunity to strengthen yourself both mentally and physically.

And for all the naysayers out there that do not think yoga or Tai Chi are real workouts, think again. If you spend even 10 to 15 minutes focused on breathing and the fluidity of movements, you will most assuredly benefit from the workout both physically and mentally.

What’s Special about Yoga and Tai Chi

When it comes to workout regimens put your prejudices aside. It is true that yoga and Tai Chi’s origins come from a different culture in another part of the world. Although considered "Eastern philosophy and practice", that is no reason not to try something that’s different.

The point is that yoga and Tai Chi are ancient mind-body rituals and have endured the test of time because they are NOT “fads.” These practices are “ancient” for a very good reason.

These whole mind-body techniques have been proven to have benefits on the physical, mental, emotional and psycho-spiritual being.

There is science behind yoga and it has been proven to have numerous health benefits for the mind and body.

Making a habit of doing a little yoga or Tai Chi every day through conscientious breathing, stretches, postures can aid the body’s resistance by buoying the immune system to operate at peak levels.

Exercise and Age

It’s no secret that as we age the thought of exercising becomes less appealing.

Thankfully, there are exercise traditions such as yoga and Tai Chi that epitomize grace, beauty and fluidity, the very attributes we hope to acquire as we grow older. Both these exercises have very real anti-aging benefits, so it’s certainly a “win-win” situation. Slow and steady wins the race every time.

Younger men and women can work out vigorously for an hour or two without a break, but for people in their later years who still want to work out but do not have the physical strength for a workout regimen that takes a lot of time and stamina, yoga and Tai Chi are excellent choices to keep bodies tone and brains sharp going into the twilight years.

Move It or Lose It

'Move it or lose it’ is a cliché that has more than one meaning attached to it. In this case, it refers to your body and mind. If the body and mind are not stimulated and stay stagnant, chances are that you will lose physical attributes such as muscle as well as mental agility from a mind that does nothing more than sit and watch television for hours on end, day after day. It is therefore imperative as we age to exercise our bodies and minds.

Both Yoga and Tai Chi make growing older easier. It helps to retain muscle, which in turn keeps the body from becoming flabby, or worse, prone to weight gain, plus both help to keep the mind intact.

If you ever stop to wonder why it is you can’t recall things the way you used to, age is probably a factor. When you put forth the effort to exercise utilizing the breathing techniques from a yoga workout along with practicing the graceful yet powerful movements from a Tai Chi workout you can indeed grow older gracefully.

We’re Here for You!

Yes, there’s a lot to learn about getting in better shape. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start slowly, and you don’t have to make them all at once. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you have any questions, join us in the community and ask.  

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