Lose Weight with Tai Chi and a cup of Coffee.

New research from China shows that coffee could be the answer to helping us get more out of our exercises, move more and lose weight.  This is because coffee affects both our appetite and metabolism.  Ironically exercise cuts our appetite for high fat foods.  


That’s great.  A way to achieve better results, faster from your workout.  The question I have is – how are we motivated in the first place?   Also, how can tai chi help?


Gym bump


We’ve all known people who have done it, maybe even done it ourselves.  Pay for new gym membership in January and stop going by Easter.  Complete waste of money for all but the dedicated gym bunnies.  Of course, the gym is expecting this bump in numbers, hence the increased advertising.  But, why don’t people stay and carry on exercising and, at least, get their monies worth?


Human nature


Overcoming our hardwired, natural biology is sometimes very difficult.  Understanding what motivates, scares, delights and excites us as individuals can take some years.  You know what you like and what you don’t, but do you understand the why behind it all?  Personality tests will help to reveal traits, but if you are not a highly exercise motivated person how do you go about improving that?


Novelty keeps us interested


Many people site boredom as the number one reason they stop going to the gym.  It’s a solo exercise and can get lonely and gutty.  We are social animals and training with friends has proven to be a great motivator.  But, even with friends to encourage you, boredom can set in.  


Brain chemistry


When we are excited and stimulated by new experiences our brain reacts to the neurotransmitter dopamine.  The levels produced and sensitivity vary individually.  If you have low levels you will crave more excitement than those with high levels i.e. you will become bored more easily.  Interestingly, dopamine also plays are part in our perception of time, so this may explain why time can sometime go so slowly when we are bored!


          “When searching for an activity, psychologists recommend finding an optimal amount of ease and challenge, called flow [source: Friedman]. In essence, flow means getting into a groove, like a runner’s high or hitting a tennis ball back and forth. It demands more skill and agility than tedious tasks, but at a low enough intensity that you reap the mental reward of accomplishment.”


Tai Chi could, therefore, be the answer for many.  Each week you learn new physical moves.  The low impact and slow pace allow your brain and body to come together to improve co-ordination, muscle memory and brain memory too.  It does demand a level of skill and concentration which improves each day.  


Boredom control


You don’t have to be a gym bunny, brilliantly co-ordinated or have previous experience to do Tai Chi.  It really is for everyone.  Due to the slow, gentle, deliberate moves they are just challenging enough to stop you from getting bored.  Your brain will speed up and co-ordination improve without you realising it.  When your left hand is doing something different from your right you may have to concentrate quite hard to begin with, but with practise you will soon master the moves.  This boosts your confidence and self-esteem.  Mastering new skills though out your life is so important in keep your brain active and your self-image healthy too.  


Maybe it’s time to install coffee machines in each of our classes?  Check out our list of (for the moment) caffeine-free classes here


Go on you know you want to J