As a Tai Chi instructor, I am very pleased that people are now placing more value on the mindfulness of exercise, and not just the physical aspect. Mind-body movement focuses on the present, not the future. There is no goal, just a continuing practice, which is more congruent with overall wellness. Through their research, “workout watchdog” studies and worldwide network of certified fitness professionals, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) continues to accurately monitor America’s growing interest in fitness.
ACE has continually touted the benefits of Tai Chi, and balance training continues to grow in popularity. Balance training activities (e.g., Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates, etc.) and equipment (e.g., foam rollers, wobble boards, Bosu balls, etc.) are among the fastest growing and most popular exercise options for adults. Health clubs and trainers are offering balance training programs for virtually all levels and types of participants. Research shows that Tai Chi is more than twice as effective in improving balance than any other exercise or type of equipment known.
A growing tendency is to blend popular mind-body programs such as Tai Chi and yoga with more traditional forms of exercise. These fusion classes and programs combine the traditional elements of a fitness regimen with many of the key elements of mind-body activities including proper posture, breathing and body awareness. By incorporating elements of mental and spiritual fitness, individuals will take better care of their entire being and psychological self, not just their bodies.
Shorter duration workouts continue to become more widespread. Lack of time continues to be the most frequently cited reason why individuals do not exercise on a regular basis. Time-starved Americans continue to seek out time-efficient yet effective workouts, pushing health clubs and trainers to offer express circuits and abbreviated routines. Since Tai Chi can be done without even breaking a sweat, it is a great workout you can do during a fifteen minute break at work in your regular work clothes, or in your pajamas when you get up. It won’t leave you out of breath and fatigued, but it will leave you feeling clear and peaceful, and despite its slow and gentle pace, you will also burn calories!