Benefits of Tai Chi for School and College Students

Tag: taiji

Let’s face it: being a student, especially at high school or tertiary level education, can be an extremely stressful time of life. Workloads, exams, and maintaining course requirements, in addition to the social and emotional pressures of being in a new environment and trying to maintain and enjoy a life both within and outside of school, places a tremendous amount of stress on a student, and maintains this stress for a significant amount of time. Long-term or chronic stress has been shown to have a detrimental affect on physical, mental and emotional health, and students who struggle to manage these stressors effectively often suffer from issues ranging from poor concentration and productivity, through sleep deprivation, weight gain, and poorer immune function, to more serious conditions such as anxiety, depression, and impaired social interactions. Managing these stressors and minimising their adverse affects are critical for a student to be successful not only in their studies but in their future life.

Tai Chi has been well researched as a means of promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety, and researchers have been examining whether Tai Chi could be specifically beneficial for high school and college students. Much of the research does suggest that Tai Chi can be beneficial in many ways, and at least one systematic review of these studies1. has demonstrated a high level of evidence supporting Tai Chi as a means of reducing stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as improved interpersonal sensitivity (such as coping skills) and flexibility. It also demonstrated significant moderate level evidence (termed “secondary benefits”) including decreased compulsive behaviour, somatization symptoms (focus on pain, weakness, shortness of breath, often linked with subsequent physical and mental disorders), hostility and symptoms of phobia. These benefits alone had the researchers calling for higher education institutions to consider including Tai Chi with their provided services as a means of promoting students’ physical and psychological well-being.

Other studies have focused on specific benefits, such as perceived stress, task attention, mood, sleep quality and self-esteem. For example, a study by Calwell and associates2. showed that increased mindfulness through the practice of Tai Chi accounted for changes in mood and perceived stress, which in turn improved sleep quality. A review of the literature will find numerous other studies supporting these benefits and others associated with health management, such as reduced blood pressure and improved immune function.

A summary of potential benefits Tai Chi can have for students is as follows:

  • improved mental acuity (eg: attention, focus, clarity of thought);
  • improved and more stable mood and interpersonal sensitivity;
  • improved general health and fitness;
  • better sleep quality;
  • decreased perceived stress;
  • decreased anxiety and depression.

With these benefits in mind, Tai Chi should be considered as an effective complimentary activity towards an overall successful study program. Students are one of many groups of people who can gain great benefits from practicing Tai Chi.

References

  1. Webster, et al. (2015). A systematic review of the health benefits of Tai Chi for students in higher education. Preventive Medicine Reports 3: 103-112.
  2. Caldwell, et al. (2010). Developing Mindfulness in College Students Through Movement-Based Courses: Effects on Self-Regulatory Self-Efficacy, Mood, Stress, and Sleep Quality. Journal of American College Health, 58(5): 433-422.

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy offers a number of Tai Chi classes and has a Corporate and Community Qigong program to help more people access and enjoy the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy strives to make Tai Chi and Qigong accessible to as many people as possible. While we always try to keep our fees as low as possible, in the current economic climate it can still be challenging for people to afford engaging in activities which are additional to their regular monthly expenses. To try and ease financial burden on people and continue to make Tai Chi affordable, WTCA is now able to take installment payments using Afterpay.

Afterpay offers the ability to split payments into 4 installments to make payments easier to manage. Payments are made via our secure Square site and details are provided upon request.

Afterpay may include its own fees or charges separate from your payment for using this service, and anyone using this service are advised to be sure they understand all the terms and conditions of Afterpay’s service prior to establishing a payment agreement with them.

Currently use of Afterpay is for class term fees, however WTCA plans to extend this to other services in due course. Information about our classes can be found here.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts has hosted a space for Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy to hold Tai Chi classes since 2020. This was our first official class in the Greater Milwaukee area, and we now hold Beginner and Intermediate classes at their facility.

WTCA is helping Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts celebrate their 20 years of making the arts accessible to the Greater Milwaukee community by holding two Come N Try Tai Chi for Free sessions during their Summer celebrations. These sessions will be held on Saturday mornings on June 25 and July 2 at from 8am. Following these sessions, attendees can continue the celebration with coffee and live music from 9am.

More information about the Come N Try Tai Chi sessions and our upcoming new Term of Tai Chi classes can be found on our website.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is pleased to announce we will be opening a new class in Cedarburg.

The new class will be held at Faith Lutheran Church on Tuesday mornings from 10-11am. Details can be found on our Classes page.

For a limited time new students who pre-register will be eligible to receive a $20.00 discount on their term fees! Register now to receive details of this offer.

The Cedarburg class represents our fifth class as we continue to grow and make Tai Chi available to as many people as possible. We look forward to welcoming new students to our Cedarburg class.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

If there’s one thing I’ve often thought to myself in over 20 years of practicing Tai Chi, it’s: “why didn’t I start doing this 20 years earlier?”

The idea that Tai Chi is “just for old people” most likely evolved because it is often promoted as a safe, gentle and effective form of exercise, especially for those with age-related changes to their health: arthritis, impaired balance, decreased mobility; “old people”. While Tai Chi and Qigong have been proven to have great benefits and be effective for older people, the same can be said for people in all age groups. In fact, the benefits gained from practicing Tai Chi and Qigong from a younger age can help decrease the risk and/or severity of age-related health changes later in life.

Tai Chi is a martial art – taijiquan – and under proper instruction is as much a form of exercise as any other martial art. Though often (though not always) practiced slowly to focus on the internal aspects of the art, each form in Tai Chi still has self-defense application, and these can be applied to real-life encounters. Some styles of Tai Chi can be quite physically demanding; my Master often stated that traditionally instruction in certain Chen forms would not be commenced once a person reached middle age due to their physical demands.

Tai Chi and Qigong practice can offer people of all ages many benefits, including:

  • increased strength and flexibility;
  • improved balance, coordination, proprioception (awareness of body position) and spatial awareness (your body’s position in relation to your surroundings);
  • improved cardiopulmonary, neurological and immune system function;
  • enhanced mindfulness, attention, and concentration/focus;
  • encourages commitment, self-awareness and self-discipline.

We need to dispel the idea that Tai Chi is only for “old people” and therefore can or should only be practiced in the later stages of life. Tai Chi is not only suitable for people of all ages, it is one of the few forms of exercise that can be continuously practiced throughout the lifespan, and whose benefits later in life are only enhanced by commencing as early in life as possible.

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy welcomes people of all ages who want to learn Tai Chi and Qigong. Find a class or come and try session at a location near you.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy has been informed that The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, is conducting a 12-week research study for older adults between 60-85 years old who have never tried Tai Chi before.

The study is being headed by Dr Peter Wayne, Director of The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, noted Tai Chi teacher and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart and Sharp Mind.

The study is limited to 30 participants, and offers payment for participation. To be eligible to participate you must be:

  • between 60 and 85 years old;
  • able to walk for 15 minutes on your own;
  • use a smartphone or computer regularly; and
  • completely new to Tai Chi.

It will likely fill up quickly, so if you’re interested please contact contact Dan Litrownik at dlitrown@bwh.harvard.edu.

If you’re interested in trying Tai Chi for free however don’t necessarily want to be a research participant, check out our Events page for upcoming Come N Try Tai Chi sessions!

Disclaimer: Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is not affiliated with The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital or any of their subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, or staff, nor have we received any compensation for promoting this project. We present this information because we are advocates of quality clinical research examining the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong practice.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy has just announced new Come N Try Tai Chi events for 2022!

Come N Try Tai Chi is a FREE one hour event that will give you an introduction to Tai Chi and Qigong. These events are open to the public – no prior experience necessary and open all age groups and abilities are welcome!

Summer events have been announced in Brookfield, Glendale and Cedarburg. Check out our Events page for more information.


Tag: taiji

Tai Chi and Qigong practice are well known for their health and wellness benefits, yet they can only be of benefit to people if people can access quality instruction.

Despite what we would like to believe, accessing health and wellness services is not the same for all. Race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic status and other factors contributing to the diversity of our communities can have a profound, and often negative, impact on a person’s ability to find or participate in quality health and wellness programs. Consequently, the health and wellbeing of these communities is often significantly impaired when compared to the broader, “mainstream”, community. Worse, there is a misconception that these communities “could participate if they want to” yet for some reason “choose not to”, and so are to blame for their own poor health. In a system where racism, discrimination, exclusionism, and physical and mental trauma is not only prevalent but in some instances normalized, it is unreasonable to expect that people from diverse backgrounds would feel safe enough to participate in settings where they are very much the minority.

Researchers have demonstrated that Tai Chi and Qigong can have significant health benefits to people from low-income and ethnically diverse populations (see references below) when factors such as accessibility, socialization, and appropriate instruction/teaching are accounted for. At Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy, we believe that Tai Chi and Qigong should be available and accessible to all, as outlined in our ‘Tai Chi for All’ Inclusion Policy. More than that, we want to ensure that the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong can be gained by all people who can benefit from them – that means everybody!

To that end, WTCA is actively seeking opportunities to bring Tai Chi and Qigong to diverse communities. At this time there are two main ways we are working to achieve this:

  1. we provide accessible, safe, friendly and welcoming class environments so people of all backgrounds can particiapte in learning Tai Chi and Qigong, and actively seek to achieve diversity amongst our student population. We want people of all cultures, races, ages, identities and abilities to join us and gain the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits of practicing Tai Chi and Qigong;
  2. we provide programs such as our Corporate and Community Qigong program to make Tai Chi and Qigong accessible to communities through existing groups and programs, and are actively seeking opportunities to work with diverse communities. Our aim is to reduce any barriers people may experience to attending a regular class by bringing Tai Chi and Qigong into communities in environments they feel are most appropriate for them.

More than that, we also call on other Tai Chi and Qigong instructors to actively work towards engaging diverse communities to participate in their classes and programs, by understanding and eliminating the barriers faced by these communities.

WTCA always welcomes suggestions on how we can provide more inclusive services and make Tai Chi and Qigong more accessible to more people. If you have an idea, or would like more information on attending one of our classes, or bringing Tai Chi and Qigong to your community, please contact us.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy’s second term of the year commences in the first week of April and there are now four class locations to choose from. Our original classes in Evansville and Brookfield are now joined by classes in Glendale and the Waukesha side of Brookfield.

WTCA welcomes all new students of all ages and abilities to Tai Chi. To find a class near you see our Classes section.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is pleased to announce our new partnership with Momentum Movement Clinic and will be commencing a new Tai Chi class at their premises in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in April 2022. WTCA’s Founder and Instructor Ray Gates said the partnership with Momentum is “a natural fit”, as Tai Chi and Qigong practice together with the therapies offered by Momentum’s Owner and Structural Integrationist Lisa McNeil and her staff would be “highly complementary to one another, and should provide people with maximal health and wellness, particularly with regards to healthy, functional movement.”

Momentum’s Lisa McNeil is excited with the partnership. “Tai Chi and Qigong blend specific movements designed to stretch, strengthen, and re-balance injured or painful body regions with focused breathing and enhanced body awareness combining common sense and intuitive body wisdom. Bringing this movement practice to the clinic is going to help clients reach their mobility and pain goals,” she said.

Classes will be held Thursday mornings from April 7. Further information and registration is available in our Classes section.