Tai Chi improves cerebral metabolism and muscle energy of the elderly

A new study provides insight into the biochemical mechanisms by which Tai Chi can bring physical and psychological benefits to the elderly.

A new study of Journal of Neuroimaging gives an overview of the biochemical mechanisms by which Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, can provide physical and psychological benefits.

Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a non-invasive method of measuring brain and muscle chemistry using MRI scanners, the tests performed on 6 older people enrolled in a 12-week Tai Chi program revealed a significant increase in a marker of neuronal health in the brain and a significant improvement in the recovery rate of a metabolite (small molecule) involved in energy production in the leg muscles.

Objective measures

"The benefits of Tai Chi are well known anecdotally, however, recent research like our study can quantify these improvements with objective measures," said Dr. Alexander Lin of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical. School, also author of the study.

According to sources, Tai Chi can be defined as "a Chinese system of physical exercises specially designed for self-defense and meditation", "a martial art based on the balance between strength and weakness, firmness and flexibility" or " a traditional Chinese martial art based on a gesture, slow, round and harmonious ".

On the other hand, getting into sport, even late in the day, has extremely positive physiological impacts, as a recent study has pointed out.

Video: The New Old Age: How the body ages and how to keep it young -- Longwood Seminar (November 2019).