Thursday, November 18, 2021

Hypothesis: Less flexible core has arterial stiffening

    • The links to these articles take the position that traditional exercise, "strength training," situps, weight lifting, etc., does more than "tone" muscles to the point where they look "firm"; one might even say "stiff."  The additional harmful effect of strength training might act to firm and stiffen arteries in the body. I will give information on how Tai Chi improves what is called "arterial compliance." If Tai Chi, in general, improves arterial compliance/flexibility, then Wu Style Classical Tai Chi uses a more direct method to make said improvements; it goes directly to the Core of the body, unlike the majority of Tai Chi methods. Classical Tai Chi, emphasizing "internal discipline" from the torso/core, can dynamically improve and is much more than skin deep. So what are the Major Arteries, where are they found? Well, there is the "Aorta," which is the largest in the body, and it connects to the left ventricle of the heart...located in the Core. There are the "Carotids," which are in the head and neck. There are "Aortic subdivisions, coronaries and subclavian" in the Torso...located in the Core.

      Studies in Europe compared the health of older adults who practiced tai chi and those who did not practice. Though the study did not directly test tai chi, it did find that tai chi practitioners' large and small vessels were more flexible ("Why Tai Chi Makes Sense for the Elderly," June 2012, Atlantic Monthly). And the more flexible the arteries, the better one's overall cardiovascular health generally is. Poor arterial flexibility is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disorders— diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. Stephen Hwa, Ph.D., is a Tai Chi Master who has repeatedly stated that "tai chi has to serve two purposes. It has to serve as a martial art and as a means to improve health." You can think of tai chi as a way to fight back against the effects of aging: losing flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.


      As a reference point for correct movement, Dr. Hwa used the example of the movement of children who use much more of their Torso for initiating action. He said when children use their arms or legs; the motion originates from the Torso, the strongest part of the body. He said the arms and legs should be treated as appendages, and they must be taught to move in coordination with and under the direction of the Torso.

      "As we start aging," according to Dr. Hwa, "less and less of our movements come from the waist and back. We hold our middle stiffly, and more of our movements originate from the shoulders and the hip joints. This stiffness of the Torso puts the onus for movement and actual physical pressure to move on joints, and we lose strength and mobility. Ultimately, we may stop using these areas of our bodies altogether. Atrophy then sets in, creating the major problems of aging."

      Note the statements about "...less and less of our movements come from the waist and back, ...hold middle stiffly..., ...pressure on joints, lose strength and mobility...

      One has to wonder how holding the Torso so stiffly increases pressure on joints and how it contributes to arteries' stiffening of arteries? All of this is correlated to growing older, so how does it not seem a simple matter to increase the amount of motion we make from the Torso? What is the best way to train this? Does all Tai Chi do this or only select versions? Do some do it better?


      "Poor trunk flexibility associated with arterial stiffening" 

      "Why Tai Chi Makes Sense for the Elderly";

      "Like Body, Like Artery"

      "With Tai Chi, Flexibility is more than Skin Deep."

      Some very streamlined teaching by a Master Instructor @Classical Tai ChiTeachable site

      Link to a video of the photo, "Internal Discipline training for young and old..."

      You can take lessons from Dr. Hwa online at Classical Tai Chi,, and see his plethora of information and videos at 

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