Taiji's gentle path to building strength

Studies show that taiji offers superior benefits to other fall-reduction approaches such as physical therapy, balance exercises, stretching, yoga or resistance training. It strengthens the lower body, improves posture, promotes flexibility, increases
Studies show that taiji offers superior benefits to other fall-reduction approaches such as physical therapy, balance exercises, stretching, yoga or resistance training. It strengthens the lower body, improves posture, promotes flexibility, increases a person's awareness of where the body is in space and improves one's ability to navigate obstacles while walking.ST FILE PHOTO

Watching a group of people doing taiji, an exercise often called "meditation in motion", it may be hard to imagine that its slow, gentle, choreographed movements could actually make people stronger. Not only stronger mentally but stronger physically and healthier as well.

But good research - and there's been a fair amount of it by now - doesn't lie. If you're not ready or not able to tackle strength training with weights, resistance bands or machines, taiji may just be the activity to help to increase stamina and diminish risk of injury that accompanies weak muscles and bones.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2018, with the headline 'Taiji's gentle path to building strength'. Print Edition | Subscribe