By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
A recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine assessed the effectiveness of Qigong (pronounced chee-gung) exercise in older adult Americans. The study found that older adults who consistently engaged in Qigong exercise reported feeling calmer, having better balance and muscular flexibility.
What is Qigong exercise?
Qigong is a form of holistic Chinese movement, breathing and meditation training. The exercise portion of Qigong is similar to Tai Chi exercise as it requires low intensity body movements and balance positions that slowly transition to different body movement.
Qigong will help improve your posture, core, upper and lower body and some research even suggests it may help with sensations of hunger, even on an empty stomach. While Qigong exercise is not designed to be a form of aerobic exercise, these gentle and slow movements will lightly increase your heart rate and be very healthy for your body and cardiovascular system.
Qigong may help with depression
Other research has found that this type of exercise can, in some cases, help individuals suffering with depression and improve their quality of life. These results are promising because exercise does not always have to come in the form of lifting weights and running or walking on the treadmill. There are many forms of exercise and activity that can be very beneficial for your body, mind and spirit.
Find a Tai Chi or Qigong class at your fitness center
If you are looking for some variety in your exercise regimen, ask your trainer or fitness professional how you can learn Qigong exercise or better yet, find a Tai Chi or Qigong class at your fitness center and participate once or twice a week with the addition of your regular exercise regimen.
If you do not belong to a fitness center, look up a Qigong exercise video and follow the video in the comfort of your own home. There are many valuable resources and videos online that can teach you how to safely engage in Qigong exercise. The low-impact nature of Qigong exercise can help you feel better and improve your health without hurting or placing any undesirable stress on your joints.
For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
*Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
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Chang, P. S., Knobf, M. T., Funk, M., & Oh, B. (2017). Feasibility and acceptability of Qigong exercise in community-dwelling older adults in the United States. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Voroshilov, A. P., Volinsky, A. A., Wang, Z., & Marchenko, E. V. (2017). Modified Qigong Breathing Exercise for Reducing the Sense of Hunger on an Empty Stomach. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2156587217707143.