It may not be high impact or get you huffing and puffing but the gentle art of Tai Chi can reduce obesity according to a recent study.Griffith University, in collaboration with the City of Gold Coast, has undertaken research which shows the ancient Chinese martial art can significantly improve mental and physical health as well as aid in connecting communities. The year-long study involved 500 people between 35 and 80 years old who took weekly Tai Chi classes in 12 communities across the Gold Coast for at least a six month period. They were also required to participate in at least two and a half hours of home practice per week.
“We conducted both a pre and post evaluation program to assess people’s resilience in coping with chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic disease-related risk factors,” says Dr Jing Sun, research leader from the Griffith Health Institute’s Population and Social Health Program.
“Factors such as obesity, nutrition levels and blood pressure were looked at in detail, with the results prior to the Tai Chi period compared with those afterwards. “The results were overwhelmingly positive, with a marked reduction in obesity and Body Mass Index seen in many of the participants,” says Dr Sun.
Using the standardised tool, the Quality of Life register, participants were also asked to rate their mental health and social support.
“Again we received favourable feedback, with many participants responding with comments such as ‘I feel there is meaningful purpose to what I am doing’ and ‘I look forward to this activity every week’.