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Find Out What Tai Chi May Do for Your Brain

By Sandy Schroeder

The brain has become a hot topic in our society as the focus on dementia grows. Just forgetting where you put your keys may not be a crisis, but around 50 more serious memory issues can come up, along with problems handling multiple tasks, thinking quickly, or dealing with details. By 70 years of age, 1 in 6 individuals have mild cognitive damage, which can become Alzheimer’s disease, according to HarvardHealth.

How Tai Chi May Help

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition of graceful exercise with slow, focused movements and deep breathing. The Mayo Clinic recommends it as a gentle way to reduce stress. If you have ever watched a tai chi class, everyone seems to be gently swaying with the breeze. They may be improving their minds, too.

Tai Chi May Help You Think Better

Now researchers believe that tai chi may help the brain think better and age more slowly. Along with soothing the soul and strengthening the body, tai chi may sharpen the brain. Scientists say the brain has the ability to change throughout life, growing new cells, making new connections and even increasing in size. Researchers reviewed over 20 tai chi brain studies and found tai chi may help people multi-task, manage time and make decisions. It may also slow down dementia.

One study showed tai chi worked better than walking as MRI images showed the brain volume increasing the most in the tai chi group. The group also did the best on brain quizzes.

Ready to Learn More?

Tai chi classes are available at the University of California, Irvine, led by world-renowned tai chi expert Dr. Shin Lin. Dr. Lin is a professor in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, who has also trained with the grand masters in China where tai chi originated.

You can also find tai chi classes throughout Orange County with the meet-up link.

Here Are Some Tai Chi Moves

The windmill - To gain flexibility and open up your spine, stand with your feet about a foot apart. Relax the shoulders and let the arms hang loosely. Bring your hands in front of your body below your waist with fingers pointing down. Inhale and raise arms up and over the head. Stretch toward the sky and gently arch the spine. Exhale and slowly bend forward to the floor, bending from the hips, allowing arms to hang loosely. Inhale and return to standing position.

Hand/shoulder flex - To exercise your hands and shoulders, stand with feet apart. Raise arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Stretch hands as wide as you can and rotate wrists forward and back. Lower arms. Pause and repeat.

Tai chi may be a smart move for the brain and the body that you could use.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Irvine, Calif.

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