Ancient Exercise May Help During Pandemic

This year has been a rollercoaster. Months after much of America went into lockdown, many of us are facing it again. The Neuliven Health team here in San Diego is lucky to be able to work from home as our county ordered more areas to close and shuttered offices. The stress of living under constantly shifting conditions, and the worry over the virus, take a toll.
 
Many Americans are looking for ways to manage stress. Many of us have, unfortunately, taken to stress eating and watching the news too much. But, exercise can get our minds off the situation. The problem is, with gyms and parks closed down, it can be hard to get in a workout. Many people have problems breathing while wearing a mask, and a lot of folks out and about aren’t wearing them. If you have an underlying health condition, you may be limiting your contact with the outside world as much as possible.
 
Looking for exercise to do in our homes, people are turning to a lot of options. Folks are climbing mountains on their stairs. They’re dusting off vintage exercise videos.  And, of course, dancing in their kitchens. Any way you can get your heart pumping is an excellent way to stay fit.
 
Many people are turning to the ancient exercise of Tai Chi. It helps both mood and body. It’s very calming while also helping you stay healthy.
 
Tai Chi has proved to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with the expected difficulties and sometimes unexpected benefits, which have arisen as a result of the lockdown,” said Graham Barrie, of Tai Chi Scotland. “As well as giving structure to the daily routine, Tai Chi has provided physical exercise for strengthening and toning the outer body. Less well known is that the gentle flowing movements of Tai Chi stimulate and energize the internal organs and the immune system.”
 
He went on to explain why Tai Chi works so well as a calming exercise. “The movements, being slow and gentle, especially when carried out to the sounds of nature, or to gentle music, are deeply calming and help overcome depression and anxiety,” said Mr. Barrie. “In consequence, one finishes the Tai Chi sequence of movement with the feeling of the gentle glow of exercise coupled with a positive and calm mind.”
 
The promise of a “glow” appeals to people who are feeling overwhelmed about their health and future. You don’t necessarily have to believe in the spiritual side of Tai Chi. Merely performing the breathing and motions can be beneficial even if you don’t “Feel the chi drop, washing down through you. Inhale. Pump the chi back up.” Disconnecting from the news and focusing on how you feel physically can be a big help.
 
Without the spiritual beliefs, it medically helpful. “Meditation and other kinds of mind-body practices can reduce the inflammatory response by inhibiting a molecule called NF Kappa B, which is a transcription factor that controls gene expression of pro-inflammatory genes in the body,” said Dr. Michelle Dossett of the UC Davis Medical Center. “These kinds of activities might help to reduce the impact of a COVID-19 infection.”
 
It’s easy to do inside your home, with many videos and classes on the internet. You can even find live classes through Google to connect to other people who are going through the movements with you.
 
Additionally, even if you have been walking, climbing the stairs or dancing for exercise, recent studies have shown that mixing up your routine yields the best results. Trying to add a little Tai Chi to your weekly habits can be a great way of reaching your health goals.  
 
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, our teams hope you are healthy and well. Reaching exercise goals can be hard at the moment. We hope you are finding ways to stay fit that work for you. It can give you a break from the mundanity of being stuck at home. So, try Tai Chi, we hope it brings some happiness and a needed break to your day.
July 15, 2020
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