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Body Movement

What is body movement?

Nonaerobic movement with controlled breathing may be done to help reduce stress and anxiety often linked to disease and illness. The Eastern medicine body movement methods that are most well-known include tai chi and yoga.

Tai chi

Tai chi is an ancient form of martial art. It is based on the Chinese belief system of the health and spiritual benefits of practicing slow, graceful but precise movements coupled with rhythmic breathing. Tai chi is sometimes called moving meditation. People move their bodies in specific poses and ways, slowly, gently, and with awareness, while breathing deeply. It is well-suited for older adults or those with balance problems.

Tai chi may help:

  • Reduce blood pressure

  • Increase stamina, muscle tone, and flexibility

  • Improve posture, balance, muscle mass, and strength, particularly in older adults

  • Improve thinking ability in older adults


Yoga is an ancient posturing and breathing method from India. It also uses a series and specific set of slow movements and poses, meditation, and breathing exercises to reach a state of relaxation. Hatha yoga is common in the U.S. and Europe. It uses postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Some of the other major styles of hatha yoga include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vini, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga.

Yoga may help:

  • Reduce stress

  • Reduce pain linked to some long-term (chronic) illnesses

  • Reduce insomnia

  • Improve stamina

  • Enhance quality of life 

If you have a major health issue, check with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program. Before you begin a yoga program, it's also important to check the instructor’s background and make certain they are experienced teachers. Yoga injuries are rare, and most often are strains and sprains. But people older than 65 may need to be cautious since yoga-related injuries are higher in this age group. In particular, people with osteoporosis should check with their conventional healthcare provider before starting a yoga class. This is because you may need to make some movement changed. Also talk with all of your healthcare providers about the health approaches you are using. This will give them a full picture of your health. And it will help ensure safe, coordinated care.

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