Tai chi and qigong are ancient Chinese practices that involve gentle movements, breathing techniques, and meditation. They have been used for centuries to improve overall health and well-being. Recently, there has been growing interest in the potential benefits of tai chi and qigong for addressing and preventing memory loss.
Here are some of the key benefits of practicing tai chi and qigong to improve memory retention in older adults:
- Improves overall cognitive function. Research has shown that practicing tai chi and qigong can improve cognitive function as a whole, including memory and attention. Multiple studies have found that older adults who practiced Tai Chi had improved cognitive ability, recollection, and focus compared to a control group who only participated in walking or other forms of exercise.
- Enhances (brain-boosting) cardiovascular health. Tai chi and qigong can also improve cardiovascular health, which is important for maintaining cognitive function as we age. Regular exercise promotes heart health, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation in the brain. This in turn allows more nourishing oxygen to be delivered to the brain cells.
- Increases brain volume. Tai chi and qigong have also been found to increase brain volume, particularly in the hippocampus, which is the region of the brain responsible for memory and learning. (Yes, a bigger brain really is a better one).
- Reduces memory-sapping stress and anxiety. Tai chi and qigong can also reduce stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact memory and cognitive function. When we’re under stress, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol. The release of cortisol is associated with memory impairment and smaller brain mass, even in young and middle-aged adults.
- Easy to learn and remember. Tai chi and qigong are relatively easy to learn and can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s also a low-impact form of exercise and can be done indoors or outdoors.
Combat Memory Loss With the Tai Chi Foundation
The Tai Chi Foundation (TCF) is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes, funds, and teaches programs that enable people to learn tai chi chuan and embody its principles.
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