Criteria for Choosing an Exercise for Health

We all know that exercise is important for good health. The question is which exercise makes it appealing to people who would want to practice it on a regular basis. There are several criteria for choosing an exercise:

  • It is good for your health
  • It can be practiced in all kinds of environment, indoors or outdoors
  • It does not require fancy and large space
  • It does not require expensive equipment
  • It doesn’t cost a lot of money to practice
  • It is not very stressful or painful
  • It doesn’t require teammates to practice
  • It is something that you enjoy doing
  • It is an exercise that you can practice for many years, for all ages, from young to old
  • It is an exercise that can also help you in self defense.

This article discusses why Taiji can meet all of the above criteria. That is why it is a popular exercise around the world, especially in China. However, in my opinion, its potential should be able to attract an even larger group of practitioners, including young adults and children.

The first and most important criterion is that the exercise has to be good for your health. It is well known for over a century that Taiji (also spelled as Tai Chi) has many health benefits. [1] Furthermore, many scientific/medical research investigations during the last quarter of a century have provided preliminary scientific confirmations that Taiji is a good exercise for health [2], although much larger sample sizes still need to confirm these preliminary medical research findings.

Taiji can be practiced indoors or outdoors, and it doesn’t require a large amount of space to practice it. So you can practice it in the comfort of your home no matter what the weather is like outside, and it doesn’t require a large space to practice it. It can be practiced in any reasonable size room, like 12’x15′. [3]

It doesn’t require any equipment, so you don’t have to buy expensive equipment or join a health club to do the exercise. The cost of practice is essentially zero. You can practice it as a group with other people, but you can also practice individually.

Although Taiji is soft and gentle, it does increase the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout your body, which is an objective of more aerobic exercises. Because the exercise is soft and gentle, you don’t feel any pain or discomfort while doing the exercise. As a matter of fact, it relaxes you physically and mentally. This is one of the reasons why Taiji is an enjoyful exercise to practice.

Taiji is known as moving meditation. Its meditation component can soothe your mind, and that is why it is considered to be a mindfulness exercise, which has mental and psychological benefits, including the ability to increase concentration and reduce ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). [4]

For all the reasons mention above, Taiji is an exercise that you can enjoy doing, no matter what is your age and how long you have been practicing it. It is something that you can do it as a child, and continue to do it as an adult, and keep on doing it while you become a senior citizen.

Finally, besides being a good exercise for health, Taiji is also good for self defense. [5] This is another reason why Taiji is such a good exercise, and provides another reason why Taiji should appeal to children, males or females, as well as young adults.

In summary, when you take into account all the characteristics that a good exercise should have, Taiji should emerge as a front runner.

[1] There are many popular articles on the web describing the health benefits of Taiji. See, e.g., “10 Benefits of Tai Chi for Better Overall Health, Well-Being and Living Longer” by Suzanne Kane, Oct. 8, 2018:

[2] For a summary of modern scientific research on the health benefits of Taiji, see, e.g., the author’s article “Health Benefits of Taiji”: A longer version of that article can be found in the article “Health Benefits of Taiji,” published in Qi:  The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, Volume 29, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 20-28.

[3] It can be practiced even in smaller spaces. During part of doing a Taiji form set, it just requires some stepping back a few feet before continuing.

[4] See, e.g., the author’s article “Mindfulness, Children’s Social and Emotional Health, and School Initiative”:

[5] See, e.g., “Is Tai Chi Effective For Self defense?”:

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2 Responses to “Criteria for Choosing an Exercise for Health”

  1. Corinne Tan says:

    Hello Don,
    I typed a reply and it disappeared so this is a repeat. I enjoy reading your logs. We just got our electricity back at 3 am this morning after 12 hours of darkness. I tried doing tai chi in the dark and discovered that my muscle memory didn’t carry over to the kicks. I concluded that I need some light to get that balance.
    CI enjoyed your physics article.
    Take care.

  2. RUBY Tsao says:

    Enjoyed your articles.
    1. Good idea to recreate events, but how?
    2. Taichi is good exercise at any age, good for the body, mind and soul. And it’s free. Thanks.

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