Want to lose weight but aren’t a fan of the gym? Well it turns out, tai chi, also known as “meditation in motion”, could be the answer to finally dropping unwanted belly fat.
A new study has found the ancient practice is just as effective as conventional exercise when it comes to reducing waist circumference in middle-aged and older adults.
Tai chi is a low-impact form of mind-body exercise that’s been practised in many Asian communities for thousands of years. But even though it’s known to be a fantastic activity for older adults, there has been little physical evidence of tai chi’s health benefits. So, researchers from the University of Hong Kong decided to investigate.
For the study, the researchers randomly assigned more than 540 adults over 50 years of age with central obesity to a regime of either tai chi, conventional exercise or no exercise. Participants in the tai chi and exercise groups met for instructor-led one-hour workouts three times a week for three months. The tai chi program consisted of the Yang style of tai chi known as Taijiquan — the most popular and widely practised style — while the conventional exercise program consisted of brisk walking and strength training activities.
The researchers said waist circumference was measured at baseline, 12 weeks and 38 weeks. They found that both the tai chi and conventional exercise groups had reductions in waist circumference, which had a favourable impact on HDL cholesterol (the so-called good cholesterol). The findings were published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study authors concluded by saying that their findings are good news for middle-aged and older adults who have central obesity but may not want to sign up to a gym due to preference or limited mobility.
The best part is that tai chi is simple and free. All you need is some space. There are myriad guided tai chi videos available online, or you can download an app and be guided through a routine. If you’re just starting out, even just five to 10 minutes each day will have an impact. The key is to make it a regular practice (i.e. three times a week or more).
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.