At any given time of year, millions of Americans may find themselves looking for the right beginner workout with varying levels of enthusiasm. If you’re one of them, you may want to take the path less trodden (for Westerners, anyway) and choose a form of exercise that truly works for you and your lifestyle. Here’s why tai chi can be an ideal way to work out for fitness beginners.
Unintimidating and Unassuming
If you’re out of shape or new to regular fitness habits, even figuring out how to get started can feel overwhelming. Yet tai chi can be an especially approachable, fuss-free, and even relaxing option if you:
- Dread having your (self-imagined) inadequacy on display at the gym or a spin class
- Get bored doing repetitive video-led exercises at home
- Don’t want to invest in expensive, space-hogging workout equipment
- Aren’t athletically inclined or interested in sports
- Find it impractical to need specific environment types for exercise (as is necessary with activities like swimming, rock climbing, skating, skiing, and more)
- Shudder with horror at the thought of running a race or marathon
That’s because you can do tai chi almost anywhere, indoors or out, and without the need for special abilities or equipment. Need more reasons to consider tai chi as a hidden-gem workout plan for beginners? You can start with tai chi for beginners before graduating to greater levels of difficulty.
You may be familiar with High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, and other high-speed cardiovascular workouts. Although they work well for many people, they also typically involve high-impact moves, which can put your joints and ligaments at greater risk of injury.
Conversely, tai chi implements gentle, flowing movements that prioritize good form and are kind to your joints. This makes it accessible to people of virtually all ages, fitness levels, and states of health (you can even do tai chi from a chair). It’s also a great way to get exercise during periods of extreme heat, as it won’t make you purple-faced, breathless, or nauseous the way more “punishing” workouts can.
If traditional forms of exercise tend to feel a bit like pointless suffering to you (apart from working toward fitness or weight loss), tai chi may be the perfect antidote. That’s because tai chi isn’t about pushing yourself past your limits (or pushing the “no pain, no gain” myth).
In fact, tai chi is often called “moving meditation” because it focuses on brain-body connection and is aimed partly at creating a greater sense of mindfulness. Not only will you enjoy all the usual benefits of exercise, but you’ll feel more in tune with your body, breath, perspective, and environment. Practicing tai chi outdoors in a serene natural setting can help you to drink in your surroundings, thereby making your workout more enjoyable — and ensuring you’ll want to make it a regular habit.
Get on the Path to (Pleasant) Fitness 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.
The Tai Chi Foundation’s mission is to improve health, well-being, and awareness through the study, practice, and teaching of tai chi and qigong by an increasing number of people worldwide. Check out our course offerings. Sign up for our newsletter for updates on upcoming classes and events.
There are over 200 TCF affiliated instructors teaching tai chi classes in 30 cities around the world. Find a class in your area, become a member, and support TCF in making the world a healthier and more mindful place today.
By Oliver Herzfeld
Photography by Sas Vassle
Tai Chi Foundation 2023