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Staying Young and Healthy With Qigong

We all know the importance of incorporating physical activity into our daily lives, however a large percent of the population over looks this fact. When exercise or physical activity is mentioned most of us instantly have visions of running endless miles or lifting weights in the gym. There are many options out there that are considered very effective especially if you are looking to improve or maintain your health.

As middle age approaches and passes the focus of physical activity is no longer about fitting into a bikini or having the biggest bulging muscles but is instead about living a longer quality life. If this is indeed your focus you may want to look at trying Qigong (Chi Gong). This ancient Chinese practice consists of a series of body movements with the focus on breathing.

The history of Qigong is rich and has been controversial. Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system however it is also considered by many to be to a spiritual movement. Three basic classifications of Qigong have emerged which include the martial, medical, and spiritual styles. In the west however Qigong has become very popular as an exercise alternative that provides tremendous overall health benefits.

In Chinese the word Qigong (Chi Gong) breaks down into two words the first is Qi which means life energy, vital energy, or life force. The second word is Gong which means accomplishing a skill through daily or steady effort and practice. The premise is that we are all born with Chi and by using our Chi we can gain health benefits that impact us mentally, spiritually and physically. Qigong not only calms the spirit and the mind there by reducing stress but has been shown to strengthen the immune system, strengthen and improve balance and posture, increase vitality, reduce hypertension, and build overall stamina. A committed practice of Qigong also improves the function of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, and the lymphatic system, all of which are extremely important to aging well and living a better quality life.

Qigong is generally divided into two basic types "soft" Qigong (ie. Tai Chi) for the overall health of body, mind and spirit, and "hard" Qigong (ie. Martial Arts) for concentration, discipline and strength training. Many forms or styles can easily be done by all ages and physical abilities including those individuals that are physically challenged. Regardless of which type you choose Qigong is an attractive activity as it allows you to exercise right in your own home if this is desired and benefits can be achieved in as little as 20 minutes a day.

Classes are widely available if a group setting is desirable or if you wish to stay at home in a private setting many books and DVD's are available to help you get started. Remember that Qigong takes practice and commitment with the focus on proper breathing techniques, specific postures and mental focus. Incorporating Qigong into your lifestyle will bring you many added benefits that most exercise routines can not offer. Qigong will help you cultivate a positive outlook on life and help you to release negative attitudes and behaviors by bringing balance to your life by promoting harmony, stability and enjoyment.

Submitted by:

Katie Carwell

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