How Tai Chi Can Sharpen Up Your Brain

Training your brain, brain training, how do you do it and, does it work and help to slow down and prevent mental deterioration as we age?


Do Brain Training Games Really Work?


Many games manufacturers would have us believe that their products do help with focus, concentration and even, improving your IQ.  MindCraft is a game which has proved to be beneficial for children with Autism, allowing them to experience and control a world safely whilst learning about change, growth, planning etc.  But, does a daily cross word or sudoku actually make us smarter?


Scientific America and Mens Journal would disagree on several levels, saying they are a waste of time and do not make you smarter.  So, what does?  What can we do to keep our brain in top form as we age?


Brain Plasticity is more Important


Brain plasticity is, apparently, more important.  Our ability to solve new puzzles and deal with new situations.  To analyse new information and make it make sense keeps our brain cell connections alive and makes new ones too.  Doing the same old puzzle does not.  See what they say about Tai Chi.


“For anyone who practices tai chi regularly, “brain plasticity arising from repeated training may be relevant, since we know that brain connections are ‘sculpted’ by daily experience and practice,” explains Kerr, who is investigating brain dynamics related to tai chi and mindfulness meditation at HMS. “Tai chi is a very interesting form of training because it combines a low-intensity aerobic exercise with a complex, learned, motor sequence. Meditation, motor learning, and attentional focus have all been shown in numerous studies to be associated with training-related changes—including, in some cases, changes in actual brain structure—in specific cortical regions.” 

Catherine Kerr, Harvard Medical School


There are many, studies on how beneficial Tai Chi is for both your body and brain, not least because it requires the use of both, working together simultaneously.  Balance is usually negatively impacted by ageing, as we don’t move so much and become more sedentary.  This leads to falls, injuries and even death if the patient is elderly enough and the event shocks them.  Tai chi works to maintain muscle tone and flexibility to enable balance.  Moving slowly from one foot to another makes you aware of your balance and requires your brain to perform millions of tiny calculations every second to keep you upright.  This forms new neuro-connections and strengthens those already present.  


If you want to find out more, or see Tai Chi in action please come along to a class and meet the instructor and students.  You can watch our short video to give you an insight into what our classes are like or contact us for more info.