I’ve been listening to Just One Thing on Radio 4 over the past few weeks. Each episode suggests one thing you can do to improve your mental and physical health each week and the evidence to back it up.
This week it was on the importance of balance which tends to deteriorate from age 35-40. Not just for preventing falls (2nd most common cause of accidental death according to the WHO) but also for benefits to mental health. I’m thinking ‘Great, Tai Chi is known to be good for balance and falls prevention’ but he was talking about standing on one leg while brushing your teeth… Then he spoke to Professor Dawn Skelton at Glasgow Caledonian University who said “Tai Chi is one of the best activities to improve your balance!”.
Prof. Skelton also mentioned that, starting at any age, regular practice was key. This reminded me of a comment by my taiji sifu Dan Docherty that regular practice in China meant daily whereas in the west it meant once a week! In my experience of teaching over the last 20 years you can sure tell the difference between those students who practice daily and those who only do a weekly class!”
This doesn’t mean you have to practice for an hour every day though – most people just don’t have the time. No, just 5 minutes, once or twice a day will bring so much more benefit than only attending a weekly class. Who knows, you may even get to enjoy it and see it as something to look forward to in the daily grind!