As one ages and becomes challenged with a medical disorder, exercise still is important aspect of daily life. Some exercise is needed to help retain the function and flexibility of the body. The exercise that we do may not be at the levels earlier in our lives, so the effort and the length of time that we do the exercise will be reduced. If we can walk, it is a great way to help keep in shape, but there are other ways that we can move to give the body a full exercise workout and still do it gently. The smooth and gentle movements of Tai chi or qigong (pronounced chi gung) can help you obtain that benefit and also help improve you breathing.

According to scientists at Harvard Medical School, medical scientific research has strongly indicated that Tai chi can improve many measures of health for seniors, such as respiratory health, balance and increased bone density in women after menopause. These include quality studies that demonstrate clearly that use of Tai chi in conjunction with standard treatments to prevent and help with rehabilitation for many medical problems that are associated with aging.

Do you have trouble dancing? Perhaps you don't see it possible for you to do Tai chi because it looks too much like dancing. There are different complexities of Tai chi, depending on the number of moves in a style. There are short and micro forms that can make it more simple to learn. Most of the styles practice are of the Yang (pronounced yahng)style. Micro forms can have as little as 10 movements which can be learned in a couple of weeks. The short form has 24 movements and can be learned piecemeal as well.

It is helpful to learn qigong and some of these qigong routines are very simple to learn. Learning qigong can also improve your Tai chi practice. Qigong exercises can include breath work that you can do sitting so that you learn the basic pattern of breathing and relaxation that is used in Tai chi. There are also standing static qigong styles that are very effective in improving health and energy. Moving qigong exercises can be very simple or they can be as complex as Tai chi. To begin, one can learn a simple movement like the commencement move of Yang style Tai chi. In this move, one moves the arms out and forward in front of the body and then back towards the torso and down in a circular motion, breathing in as the arms go up and breathing out as the arms go down. This exercise helps with deepening the breath and relaxing the whole of the body.

The simple qigong movements make it possible for you to start this process of improving your health without worrying about learning complex movements. That is the advantage of qigong, you can do it step-by-step and learn as you go. It helps to find a talented teacher and a group to practice with as well. Group practices are always more enjoyable and energetic. If you practice regularly about 15-20 minutes a day, you will notice that your energy levels will increase and your health will improve. As your skills increase, you can also increase the complexity of your practice and help others in their practice.


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Author's Bio: 

Randy has been practicing qigong and Tai Chi since 1993. He lives in Costa Rica and teaches and writes about Traditional Chinese Medicine and other related health topics.