Jumpstart your day with these revitalizing workouts.

by Genessee Kim


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Power Workouts

Tai Chi Stretching

f you live near lawns, you may have come across some characters moving glacially through ridiculous poses. What you’re seeing is tai chi, a form of moving meditation. It looks deceptively easy. But you may spend more time thinking about your aching body than focusing on your mental calm. At least in the beginning. Imagine keeping your knees extended at 135 degrees while moving your other limbs through a series of incredibly slow, controlled rotations. Tai chi requires good balance. It also cultivates greater muscle strength and definition than one might think. Despite its image as a geriatric’s workout, it is, afterall a martial art.
  1. What it does:

         Tai chi destresses. It is based on the premise that there is an energy system running through the body. 12 main and 8 secondary meridians of energy or Qi flow through the body. Tai chi stimulates that flow.

         Many of the movements include leg to leg weight shifts and the lifting and extension of the arms and legs. Stretching is always important, particularly as one ages and flexibility decreases. Tai chi’s emphasis on bent knees and gradual weight shifts allows for a low impact workout. Increased muscle strength is just one benefit. Tai chi improves energy, stamina, agility, flexibility and the general mental ease. It aids in breathing, and tones the internal organs.

         The relief of chronic pain and the slowing of bone loss in post menopausal women are some of the lesser known bonuses associated with tai chi. And for insomniacs, it is a natural sleep aid, improving both the quality and length of sleep.


         There are several styles of which the Yang style and Wu style are most popular. the Yang style is the most widely practiced. Its emphasis on uniform speed of movement coordinates joint rotations along with muscle movement. Some use it as a preventitive measure against arthritis, sciatica and lumbago.

  2. History:

         The origins of Tai chi are apocryphal. Some scholars credit the 12th century Taoist monk Zhang Senfeng. It is thought to be the result of Zhang combining his Tao yin Taoist breathing exercises, with his martial arts training from the Buddhist Shaolin monastery.

  3. Who it’s best for:

         If you are overweight or out of shape, running three miles a day probably isn’t happening. A low impact workout like tai chi will get your muscles and joints warmed up for more strenuous exercise. It will also offer some mild cardio and help prevent physical injury later on. Baby boomers and insomniacs might consider adding tai chi to their regimen.

         Although tai chi is a good athletic appetizer and a great fitness finale, it offers the most efficient benefits to those for whom it would be the main workout. If you’ve already got a cardio thing down and consider yourself an exercise enthusiast then skip this one.

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A low impact workout like tai chi will get your muscles and joints warmed up for more strenuous exercise.