Ok, so you like to run, blow the cobwebs off, rid yourself of the stresses of the day. You probably prefer to run in the fresh air, although some of you may prefer the safety of the treadmill and the gym environment. Either way you are improving your fitness levels, getting your energy pumping. What’s not to like, right?

May I ask you, what are you doing to protect yourself against the side effects?

At this point you might feel the need to dispute the fact that there aren’t any side effects. An article written in Active By Elizabeth Narins, Women’s Health would disagree.

At this point, I am anticipating that some of your eyes might glaze over. Or you might be tempted to stop reading.

All I am asking is a few moments of your time, even if you totally disagree with me. 

I teach T’ai Chi and for those of you who like action and a vision of elderly people waving their arms about springs to mind I am probably losing you again, stay with me.  It’s not slow, it’s not boring and it is definitely not just for the older generation.  There are so many aspects to T’ai Chi but people rarely consider it as a serious means of obtaining true health and fitness.

When you run you don’t have to think, you just have to move.  T’ai Chi is different, we ask you to think and to be present in the moment. We teach you how to harmonise your mind with your body. How to move without damaging any of the joints.  T’ai Chi strengthens the mind, respiratory system and strengthens the bones and muscles all the benefits of cardio and weight training without pounding pavements or pumping iron.

Before we go any further, I am not asking you to give up running or any other sporting activity you may love. I am suggesting you develop an inner protection so that you can carry on with your chosen form of exercise when your body starts maturing with age, rather than wait until you can no longer sustain the level of endurance you require.

Running and other sports puts strain on the joints, particularly knees and ankles. When arthritis enters the joints the body’s stamina starts to fade.  This is usually the point when people start to look round for new activities to take part in, looking back at the hay days of their life through rose tinted glasses, accepting that it is just part of getting older.  I ask myself why?

I started my training in my late twenties after the birth of my youngest daughter. The movements I teach have given me strength and stamina to bring up a family. Build a T’ai Chi association, write books, lecture on the subject, run the London Marathon and break a Guinness World Record.  I have the health and energy enjoy every aspect of my life. The outlook on life that many of my peers have often puzzles me. 

You may be fit today but will it last? I hope it does.  All I am suggesting is that you give T’ai Chi a try.  If you have not really tried it you have no idea if it can help you, or of the health benefits on offer. T’ai Chi is about your whole life experience and just because people don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.  Millions of people worldwide benefit from the long-term health benefits of practising T’ai Chi. 

Attending just a couple of classes will not provide you with the whole picture, the story evolves with your practise, understanding and growth. It does not require hours of dedicated training and a few minutes here and there throughout the day can make a difference to your health and life.  However, it’s like anything, the more you put into it the more you get out. For me personally it is my way of life.  I practice daily, sometimes for hours, sometimes for not so long.  I have been practising the Arts for over thirty years and each time movements somehow present themselves in a different way. There is a lot of depth to the movements and I have found that the more I have practiced at one level another level has presented itself, I have certainly never been bored! T’ai Chi is like an onion, peel one layer away and another layer appears.

So, why not try it? No side effects, no pills, just the mind and the body working together as nature intended it to be.