Perhaps, with the tragic death of Carrie Fisher on our minds, you are interested in improving your cardiovascular health in order to avoid the same fate. Recent research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggested that tai chi can help those who practice it regularly improve muscle strength and cardiovascular health. Volunteers were found to have both stronger knee muscles and better elasticity of the arteries. The average large and small artery compliance both significantly increased, by 26.2% and 17.9% respectively. As the Natural Health Magazine special stated, tai chi holds a particularly high potential for the health of Australian women, as heart disease is currently the number one killer.
If you do decide to begin practising tai chi, it is important to not just settle for any program, as some have no evidence supporting them and there are a lot of sham products on the market. Among the styles most likely to be effective are the Sun, Yang and Wu forms. Slower, gentle styles are recommended for building bone density and strength, while faster varieties are better for cardiovascular health. The Sun style is characterised by higher stances and is best for improving strength, preventing falls and managing arthritis and osteoporosis. Yang has many lower stances, and a lot of upper body movement; it is considered to be beneficial for heart health. Wu is characterised by soft circular movements and was described in the NHM article as getting one woman out of a neck brace.