3 Reasons Why Qigong is the Best Form of Exercise
Qigong, pronounced “chee-gung,” is a 5,000-year-old Chinese practice that involves coordinating body movements, breathing, and meditation, and has been proven to be highly beneficial for those who practice it regularly. Though it is ancient, Qigong has gained enormous popularity in recent years, and for good reasons. Here, in no particular order, are three reasons why Qigong is the best form of exercise.
1. Qigong is Easy on the Body
One of the reasons why Qigong is most suitable for anyone, regardless of their age or fitness level, is that it is gentle and low impact. Most Western-style workouts, like running, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), and weightlifting, can be overly taxing on the body, leading to injuries and unnecessary wear and tear on the bones and joints. However, Qigong’s flowing movements are intentionally designed to be gentle, with minimal impact on the body, making it an ideal choice for those with physical limitations or injuries.
Part of the reason for this is that Qigong relies on the natural range of movements of the human body. The practice is all about moving and improving the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy inside the body. As you move, Qi flows more freely through your muscles, organs, and blood vessels, which helps nourish and heal different parts of the body. Additionally, the gentle, rhythmic motion in Qigong calms and centers the body, creating a sense of peace and relaxation.
2. Qigong is a Low-Risk Exercise
In addition to being gentle on the body, Qigong has the lowest risk of injury among all exercises, sports and games. Tai Chi, another Chinese practice related to Qigong, has been shown to cut falls by as much as 50 percent compared to other forms of exercise, according to a 2013 review published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Typical Qigong movements include slow, gentle stretches and deep breathing techniques, all while focusing on the body’s energy systems. This means that the risk of injury commonly associated with high-intensity workouts is practically nonexistent with Qigong.
Furthermore, researchers have consistently found that Qigong may even help to prevent and heal injuries. For instance, a review published in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine found that Qigong training helped improve range of motion, balance, strength, and flexibility. All of these benefits combined allow Qigong practitioners to develop a better understanding of their bodies and to keep moving comfortably and confidently for years.
3. Qigong Improves Mental Health
In addition to its physical benefits, Qigong is also widely recognized for its many mental health benefits. Practicing Qigong regularly has been shown to help alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress while enhancing focus, concentration, and overall sense of calmness.
A classic part of Qigong practice is meditation. Practicing qigong involves setting an intention and then quietening the mind so that the energy can circulate freely throughout the body. Meditation also helps to slow the breath, which in turn stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, and helps to promote a sense of calmness.
Studies also suggest that regular Qigong practice could lead to better sleep. When the mind is calm, the body follows suit, and so relaxation can improve sleep quality significantly.
Lastly, Qigong is believed to boost brain function. Qigong movements demand concentration, coordination, and awareness - all of which boost cognitive function, as seen in a study by the National Institutes of Health.
There are certainly many other reasons why Qigong is the best form of exercise. However, being low-impact, low-risk, and good for both physical and mental health are some of the factors that have made it the ideal choice for over 5,000 years. Qigong can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility while helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Moreover, it is easy to learn and practice for anyone, regardless of age or fitness level.
If you’ve ever wanted to try Qigong, why not learn from a certified instructor by attending a Qigong class or workshop? It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in a supportive community, learn proper technique, and progress through the most effective exercises for your unique needs. With regular practice, you too can experience the many amazing benefits of Qigong.