Your Ultimate Guide: Tai Chi for weight loss
Want to lose weight and keep it off?Weight loss is the number one fitness goal for many Americans, which is not too surprising given that two-thirds of adults are considered either overweight or obese.
Let’s not kid ourselves; losing weight is never an easy walk in the park. Perhaps you have tried dieting, Zumba, cardio, CrossFit, and an array of other weight loss programs with little or no tangible results. If this sounds like you, Taichi Chi could be the best solution for you!
Weight loss with Tai Chi is all the rage right now. But what is it? How does it help you shed unwanted weight? What are its health & wellness benefits? Keep on reading to get the lowdown on Tai Chi for fitness and weight loss.
What is Tai Chi?Tai Chi is a special kind of Chinese exercise that has been used for centuries to bolster fitness and health. Technically, it is a form of martial arts that combines yoga-like poses, deep breaths, and slow body movements.
Tai chi brings the best of yoga and exercising, delivering incredible physical, mental and psychological benefits. That’s why it has proven to be quite effective as a weight loss program.
Health Benefits of Tai ChiStress and Anxiety Relief with Tai Chi
Stress and anxiety are two leading risk factors for obesity and weight gain. In a 2007 study [PubMed], researchers found that high stress and anxiety levels were linked directly to erratic weight gain and poor lifestyle choices like eating junk food, overeating, etc.
Stressed individuals are also more likely to suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia, which often lead to weight gain. Overall, anxiety and stress can make it hard for you to lose weight. The good news is that tai chi is a well-known anxiolytic and stress reliever because it brings together concerted breathing, meditation, and physical exercise.
In a study published in the journal of Clinical Psychology in 2018, scientists studied 50 participants, some of which practiced tai chi while others embraced conventional exercise. They found that tai chi offered more benefits for reducing the stress associated with anxiety than conventional exercise.
By reducing stress, tai chi allows you to eat healthily, avoid bad habits like binge-eating, and get enough sleep. That’s how it helps aid with weight loss.
Tai Chi and Mood ImprovementLosing weight is not a one and done. It is an ongoing process that needs a lot of encouragement, will, and motivation to stay the course. Unfortunately, anxiety and depression-related mood can make it difficult for you to stick to your exercising and workouts.
That’s where tai chi comes in handy. Recent studies seem to suggest that practicing tai chi regularly can help reduce symptoms of depression and lift your mood. It is believed that mindful breaths, slow movements, and meditation have a positive impact on the parasympathetic nervous system.
What’s more – tai chi encourages the production of mood-regulating and happy-feel hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Although the results are clearly positive, more research is still being conducted to show the relationship between improved mood and tai chi. However, one thing is for sure: being in a good mood is important for weight loss.
Tai Chi and Goodnight’s SleepGetting plenty of sleep is important for weight management. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can mess up with your hormonal balance, which often leads to weight gain or even worse unhealthy lifestyle.
Tai chi can help you get more restful and robust goodnight’s sleep.
In a 2016 study, scientists followed for 10 weeks young individuals with anxiety and other symptoms associated with lack of sleep. In that period, the participants were encouraged to practice 2 tai chi sessions every week.
The preliminary results were encouraging. Those who practiced tai chi saw tremendous improvement in their sleep duration and quality. Another study published in the same year found that practicing tai chi can help senior adults with cognitive problems sleep better too.
Tai Chi and Lung Disease (COPD)Having a lung condition, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can make it impossible to exercise and therefore lose weight. Tai chi has been discovered to help alleviate symptoms of this lung disease.
In fact, in a 2014 study, researchers found that prescribing at least 12 weeks of tai chi to COPD sufferers can improve their ability to work out.
Tai Chi and Pain
If you have been experiencing pain from chronic conditions like arthritis, Tai Chi can help alleviate the symptoms. In a study carried out in 2010, 15 people with arthritis practiced it for a period of twelve weeks. The researchers reported that participants experienced improved balance, better mobility, and less pain after the study. In fact, another study revealed that 60 minutes of tai chi can be as effective as physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis.
Tai Chi for weight lossPracticing tai chi regularly helps you lose weight in more than one way.
Revs your metabolism: Tai chi has been found to boost your metabolism. How so? It so happens that tai chi movements and deep breaths stimulate thyroid glands which are responsible for revving up your metabolism. This way, you burn more calories that could otherwise have been stored as fat. More importantly, an active metabolism ensures that you burn unwanted fat (especially belly fat) when you are walking, jogging or even practicing tai chi movements.
- Helps you burn more calories: razing excess calories is the surefire way to lose weight. In fact, you must burn at least 3,500 calories to lose 1lb of fat. Tai chi is a remarkable calorie burner. An hour session of tai chi will help you burn 160 calories if you weigh around 219lbs.
- Yang style is good for weight loss: this style of tai chi places a huge demand on specific muscles. This makes for a challenging exercise that leads to weight loss.
- Encourages healthy eating: By reducing stress, improving sleep, enhancing your balance, and lifting your mood, tai chi promotes proper eating that encourages weight loss.