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Want To Lose Weight? Then T’ai Chi May Be Just What You Need!

If you ever thought that t’ai chi and weight loss don’t go hand in hand because t’ai chi only involves slow, gentle dance-like movements, then, think again. A study by researchers at Victor Segalen University in Bordeaux, France, found that obese women lose considerable body fat when they practice t’ai chi regularly.

The researchers, led by Dr. Arnaud Dechamps, looked at 21 obese women who didn’t normally engage in any form of physical activity. They randomized half of the women to a t’ai chi program, and the other half to a standard exercise program. Both groups exercised two hours per week.

The results, published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, show that, after just ten weeks, not only were the women in the t’ai chi group less fat, their blood pressure had decreased, and their mood had improved significantly. The researchers also found that the beneficial effects of t’ai chi were all but temporary. They lasted a considerable six months after the end of the last t’ai chi session.

The weight-loss effects of t’ai chi are not limited to obese people. They extend to anyone who wants to lose weight the healthy way. The journal Work reports, for example, that, in one Canadian study, 52 people who participated in a 12-week t’ai chi program successfully lost weight, as demonstrated by significant reductions in their waist circumference.

The group consisted of employees working long hours at the computer, one of the categories at high risk of overweight. The employees were asked by the researchers – of York University in Toronto – to practice t’ai chi twice a week. Each session lasted 50 minutes. As in the French study, the beneficial effects of t’ai chi went above and beyond weight loss. The most significant additional benefit was an improvement in heart function.

So, how can t’ai chi help people lose weight? For one thing, despite common belief, we do burn calories when we practice t’ai chi. T’ai chi may not be a strenuous form of physical activity, but our body uses up to 300 calories per hour when we do it.

Another reason why t’ai chi facilitates weight loss has to do with its stress-relief properties. Research shows that we tend to eat more when we are stressed. We also tend to eat the wrong food. A study by Leeds University researchers found, for example, that we are more likely to choose high calorie food and drinks when we are under stress. By reducing our levels of stress, t’ai chi reduces also our tendency to eat more than we need and unhealthily.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that losing excess weight is important for many reasons. It makes us feel good about ourselves, increases our self-confidence, and reduces our risk of developing serious health problems associated with overweight and obesity, like diabetes and heart disease.

Used as part of a healthy lifestyle, t’ai chi can help us lose those extra pounds and – keep them off!

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