Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mind and Body: Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a mind and body exercise used for many years in Chinese medical practice. Research suggest that Tai Chi is safe and can benefit the cardiovascular health of both young and old male healthy subjects. The practice of deep breathing and slow movement in Tai Chi has been proven to increase Heart Rate Variability in both young and old males. Tai Chi has been proven to increase efficiency in myocardial oxygen use. Studies show that Tai Chi increases parasympathetic tone and decreases sympathetic tone as it relates to the heart. 

Tai Chi is a method of practice that has also been used to strengthen the body and maintain proper balance. Balance disorders can a occur due chronic diseases in elderly people. Maintaining balance as aging occurs is critical to prevent major injury from falls. Tai Chi uses deep breathing, slow movement and meditation to help increase balance. Study show that Tai Chi helps to improve balance by decreasing swaying in elderly people with their eyes both open and closed. 

Tai Chi has been listed under Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used as an alternative to western medicine. It has been used by patients over forty to help treat and prevent Artrial Fibrillation. It has also been used to treat older adults with mental disorders. 

As discussed, Tai Chi is a aerobic low intensity exercised used in Traditional Chinese medicine. It may help treat and prevent patents with cardio vascular diseases. It's methods of deep breathing and slow movement can aid with mental health and improve the overall quality of life in people of all ages.

Lan C. Tai Chi improves natural harmony in autonomic function. North Am J Med Sci [serial online] 2012 [cited 2017 Mar 5];4:276-7. Available from:

Rahal, Miguel Antônio, Alonso, Angélica Castilho, Andrusaitis, Felix Ricardo, Rodrigues, Thuam Silva, Speciali, Danielli Souza, Greve, Júlia Maria D′Andréa, & Leme, Luiz Eugênio Garcez. (2015). Analysis of static and dynamic balance in healthy elderly practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan versus ballroom dancing. Clinics70(3), 157-161. Epub March 00, 

Yan Dong, Jiangquan Liao, Kuiwu Yao, Wenrui Jiang, and Jie Wang, “Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2017, Article ID 1381732, 11 pages, 2017. doi:10.1155/2017/1381732

HIIT Training: The Pros and Cons

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has become one of the most popular training methods in todays fitness world. It's popularity formed for several reasons which include; efficiency in weight loss, easily accessible and easily modified for people of all fitness levels (Kravitz). Although HIIT training does have its perks, it does not come without some flaws. This discussion will include both the pros and cons of high intensity interval training.

HIIT training is one of the most convenient training programs, making it one of the most popular programs. HIIT exercises can be used with just about any workout, including cycling, swimming, jogging, walking, and weight training (Kravitz). Not only is HIIT training convenient it can also be modified depending on a persons fitness level. When developing a program for high intensity interval training the program is individualized by the athletes max heart rate (Clark). This means that assessments, both subjective and objective, must be done prior to developing the program so that it will fit the athletes needs. One other pro of using HIIT training is that it can be done less frequently than aerobic workouts and produces better results (Kravitz). This is because of something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC which causes the body to use more energy in order to restore  it  back to a pre exercise level (Clark, Lucett, Sutton).   

Although there are benefits to using HIIT there are also some things to be concerned about. Like with any fitness program, there are risks to using HIIT as method of training. HIIT training may cause a higher risk of coronary heart disease for athletes who have been inactive for an extended amount of time (Kravitz). For this reason athletes clients must for be cleared by a medical physician before starting the program. This is also a reason why the fitness professional must design the program to fit the client or athlete's individual needs. 

As stated HIIT programs are the most effective fitness programs in weight loss and cardiorespiratory training. After being cleared by a physician and assessed by a fitness professional it also can be done safely without injury.   

Clark, M. A. Lucett, S. C. Sutton, B. G.NASM Essentials of Sports Performance Training          2016

Kravitz, L. High Intensity Interval Training.             intensity-interval-training.pdf

Wenger, H. A. Bell, G. J. The Interactions of Intensity, Frequency, and Duration of                     Exercise Training in Altering Cardio Respiratory Fitness 1986.

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