After Lou Reed's death, Laurie Anderson published a eulogy about her musician husband: "He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air." Reed was a longtime practitioner of the Chinese martial art, and Anderson said when her husband practiced the form, he was looking for magic.
Reed was onto something. Research suggests that tai chi can have lasting health benefits and is great for strengthening your mind-body connection. It can improve balance and coordination, and calm the mind, thanks to its focus on mindfulness, motion and breath. It has also been found to improve bone density and immune function. According to research recently published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, this mind-body exercise is linked to a boost in both mood and quality of life in people with cardiovascular disease.
That's something that many of the nation's 121.5 million people with cardiovascular disease can certainly benefit from. Nearly a quarter of those folks suffer from depression, and symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, can lead to lower quality of life. The new study found practicing tai chi can alleviate such symptoms.
So, if you've been diagnosed with heart disease, one way to safely and enjoyably increase physical activity and decrease stress is to take up tai chi. Google "online Tai Chi instruction" for a lot of free resources, and check out sharecare.com for in depth info and videos on the practice.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.