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Use More of Your Muscles

By Frank Simons

Although the health benefits of t’ai chi practices are extraordinary, they may not be enough to entice people to start learning it. Would it lure more people into trying this esoteric exercise if they knew practicing t’ai chi and qigong would give them a flat belly or sexy arms? In this lecture, you will begin exploring the fitness benefits of t’ai chi, including the #1 reason people typically join a gym or hire a personal trainer: to lose weight. Other benefits include cardiovascular fitness, increased lower body strength, and increased flexibility.

Video Presentation
Essentials of T’ai Chi and Qigong, Part 15, “A Superior Workout–—Use More of Your Muscles”
Thu, Sep 8, 5:30pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted

The slow movement of t’ai chi gives the impression it doesn’t burn many calories or offer much of a cardiovascular workout. However, it is one of the most efficient cardio workouts there is, burning as many calories as running. Westerners are not used to sweating and being calm at the same time, but with t’ai chi, it is completely normal. The t’ai chi secret to weight loss is to activate as many of your muscles at the same time as possible. When one part of your body goes into motion, the entire body should go into motion. Even when the movements are slow and relaxed you are using far more muscles, demanding far more stored energy than most workouts.

One of the great benefits of t’ai chi is how well it builds muscle size and strength in the lower body. The effect is an increase in both muscle strength and endurance. Keeping lower body strength as you age is a factor that helps prevent heart disease. There is a version of t’ai chi, t’ai chi cao, done for health and fitness. This is the origin of Taijifit. In this program you use weighted bars and balls held in both hands. It’s a great way to experience the beauty, style, and flow of t’ai chi and to get a great workout, too.

Conventional Western strength training is lifting weights. Conventional Western aerobics involves spinning and treadmills. T’ai chi is designed to utilize more of your body, so the cardio effect is greater because you are adding the sum of the aerobic demands in a much greater percentage of your overall body. The exercise benefits of t’ai chi are made much clearer when we emphasize total body connection as a fitness principle.

David-Dorian Ross, the founder and CEO of Taijifit, leads the course. He has a BA in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University and has trained in China with championship martial arts coaches. Mr. Ross is the host of the PBS series T’ai Chi: Health and Happiness and the author of five books on health and wellness, including Exercising the Soul.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video. Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.


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