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A Good Exercise for Beginners: Tai Chi and Other Chinese Exercises

A Good Exercise for Beginners: Tai Chi and Other Chinese Exercises

Exercise is essential for good health and weight loss after gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or adjustable lap band surgeries.  For people who have not regularly exercised prior to their bariatric surgery, Tai Chi and other Chinese exercises (such as Qigong, and Baduanjin) can be a good gateway into exercising.  

Starting a new exercise regime can be scary for those who aren’t used to exercising, but Tai Chi is actually recommended by Harvard Medical Cente for anyone, of any age, including those in a wheelchair.  Because it is low impact and slow moving, bariatric patients should not feel overwhelmed by trying it.  Tai Chi is a gentle exercise that helps maintain strength, flexibility, and balance.  The movements are often circular and never forced, and emphasis is on breathing deeply.  It is a good beginner exercise since muscles are relaxed instead of tensed, and joints are bent rather than fully extended, which makes it easier on the body than many other exercise choices such as pilates, barre, Zumba, or spinning.  

While you will not see a huge amount of calories burned like you might at spinning or Zumba, Tai Chi does have other benefits.  Aside from increasing your confidence to begin exercising and maintaining an exercise routine, these Chinese exercises have several health benefits.  Participation in Tai Chi and other Chinese exercises can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  Small but significant reductions were also seen in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  Participants in the exercises also reported improvement in their quality of life and reduction in symptoms of depression.  Both lower body and upper body muscle strength can be improved, as well as flexibility and balance.

If you are looking for an exercise program to help get you started and incorporate exercise into your wellness routine, Tai Chi and other Chinese exercise can be a good choice.

Tai Chi is a safe form of exercise and does not require any equipment, so it’s easy to get started.  Taking or observing a class may be a good choice, although you could also try a video in the comfort of your own home.  As with anything, consistency is key.  You will experience the most benefit from developing a consistent exercise routine.  Starting with Tai Chi can get you feeling more capable and when you are feeling stronger and more flexible, you may be more willing to branch out into other activities that may help promote further weight loss.

The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery.  Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric patients who have had gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery, often come from all over South Florida, including Boca Raton, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Hialeah, as well as Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.  Both before and after bariatric surgery, Dr. Shillingford encourages his patients to include exercise into their lifestyle to promote both health and weight loss.  Tai Chi can be an excellent choice for those just starting to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.