Tai chi as a tonic

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Daily exercise

Dr Michael Greger (author of How Not To Die) recommends 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal workout for modern people.

A tonic

Tai chi is best seen as a tonic. A tonic is a medicine taken daily in order to maintain and invigorate the body. It may significantly improve your health.

Daily tonic

A tonic has certain conditions attached:

  1. It must be administered every day

  2. When you stop taking it, the health benefits go away

This is something to really think about. Re-read the paragraph if you need to.

12 weeks

There have been a number of medical trials to assess the health benefits of tai chi. They determined that daily practice between lessons has helped a lot of people improve their fitness.
It can take up to 12 weeks for the health benefits of daily tai chi practice to have an effect.

Home practice

Most people are not used to training at home. The key to home training is to work into it gently. Try doing a small amount every day. Nothing ambitious. Build it up to 90 minutes.


Gradually cultivate the habit of doing tai chi at home. Eventually, you will find yourself wanting to do it. And if you miss the training, you will notice its absence.

Make the time

Make time for tai chi in your life. That way, your body receives a daily tonic. You unkink those unpleasant aches and pains, stiff muscles and sore joints.
You gently, softly encourage your body to move freely and comfortably.

Take it easy

Instead of hammering and punishing your body, you treat it with respect and care. Your body must last you a lifetime.

A commitment to your body

Is a threadbare commitment to your fitness, strength and wellbeing good enough? Suppleness, flexibility, joint mobility and a strong, pliable spine should be a given.
Think of tai chi as being a daily investment in your own wellbeing and longevity.

How long do I need to train? Many people have asked me. And I answer, "Until you die. " They're not very happy with that answer. In the West people want to learn fast; some people think once is enough. But the dojo is not like a university. You have to practice until you die.

(Taisen Deshimaru)

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Page created 26 September 1994
Last updated 6 October 1997