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Getting regular exercise is one of the best things we can do for our bodies. Practicing mind-body movement, like tai chi, also benefits our mind, emotions, and relationships. This makes tai chi a great way to support your Whole Health.
Whole Health is an approach to your well-being that focuses on what matters to you. It combines your physical health with other areas of life, like mental health and community.
Tai chi supports relaxation, focus, balance, and strength. Research shows that it can improve confidence and help you achieve other goals. Practicing tai chi with others can also be a great way to build community. Healthy community and relaxation are both important for your Whole Health. So how do you get started? Check out our tips and videos below.
What is tai chi?
Tai chi is a mind-body exercise that combines gentle movements with breathing and focused attention. The slow, controlled movements strengthen and stretch many muscles. They also bring attention to different parts of the body. This quiets the mind and teaches the body to relax. Practicing tai chi allows the body, mind, and spirit to work together.
How to get started
The videos below give an easy introduction into tai chi. Simply watch and follow along. Here are a few tips before you start:
Get comfortable. Wear clothes that let you move freely.
You don’t need any special props to practice tai chi. You may want a chair to sit in or rest your hand on for balance.
Each video shows an option for seated or standing forms. If you prefer to practice standing, skip to half-way through the video.
Tai chi is meant to be practiced slowly. Pause the video at any time to practice a movement until you can repeat it easily.
Where can I practice with others?
Doing tai chi with others can help form a sense of community and add to the peace it brings. Check to see if your local VA center offers tai chi classes. You may also find classes at a nearby martial arts school, community center, or public park. Look for these through the American Tai Chi Association.
How My HealtheVet can help
To get the most benefit from tai chi, set aside time to practice regularly. You can log your exercise routines in the Activity Journal on My HealtheVet. Tai chi is a very safe exercise. But you may feel minor aches in muscles you aren’t used to exercising. Stop and talk to your doctor by sending a Secure Message if you feel any pain when trying these movements.
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