How to Integrate Tai Ji Quan into Physical Education Programs: This Ancient Exercise Can Benefit Students' Body and Mind

By Lu, Chunlei | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, February 2008 | Go to article overview

How to Integrate Tai Ji Quan into Physical Education Programs: This Ancient Exercise Can Benefit Students' Body and Mind


Lu, Chunlei, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Tai ji quan, also known as "tai chi," is an ancient Chinese exercise characterized by soft, slow, and meditative movements. It consists of a set of continuous, evenly paced, carefully choreographed, but natural, body shifts. "Tai ji" is an ancient Chinese philosophy, while "tai ji quan" refers to a type of physical activity based on tai ji philosophy. Tai ji quan is currently among the most commonly recommended exercises for promoting lifelong health and for coping with illness. Many physical educators have already embraced it, and many others plan to add this Eastern movement discipline to their curriculums in the very near future (Lu, 2004). Expanding on ideas presented in previous JOPERD articles about this discipline (Chen & Sherman, 2002; Honda, 1995; Yan, 1995), this article intends to further assist teachers in developing the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to integrate tai ji quan in school physical education programs.

Evidence-based Research on Tai Ji Quan

A number of studies have reported specific benefits of practicing tai ji quan. In general, there seem to be three major areas (i.e., physical, psychological, and therapeutic) that register immediate and/or lasting benefits as a result of practicing tai ji quan.

Studies focused on the physical aspects have reported that tai ji quan enhances the following physical qualities: muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, suppleness, balance and coordination, postural alignment, fatigue relief, and stamina (Docker, 2006; Jones, Dean, & Scudds, 2005; Li, Hong, & Chan, 2001).

Many studies centered on the psychological aspects reveal that tai ji quan can improve the following areas: general mental health, memory, concentration, relaxation of body and mind, body awareness, self-esteem, calmness, and positive mood (Jin, 1992; Sandlund & Norlander, 2000; Taylor-Piliae, Haskell, Waters, & Froelicher, 2006).

Tai ji quan is also used as a therapeutic and preventive means to reduce the risk of, or to treat, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, pain, Parkinson's disease, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and depression (Chen & Snyder, 1999; Mustian et al., 2004; Venglar, 2005). It is recognized that tai ji quan is also a safe and appropriate exercise for people of all ages in a wide range of health conditions.

Although the majority of research on tai ji quan involves adults and seniors, there are a few empirical studies of tai ji quan for school-age children and youths. One study involving children in fourth through sixth grade reported students' increased feeling of well-being and their enjoyment of the tai ji quan experience (Baron, 1998). Another project described that teens who participated in tai ji quan at a middle school experienced increased well-being, calmness, and relaxation; improved sleep; less reactivity; increased self-care; better self-awareness; and a sense of interdependence with nature (Wall, 2005). An investigation involving 13 adolescents, age 14.5 years old, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) found that participants displayed less anxiety, fewer inappropriate behaviors, less hyperactivity, and improved conduct as a result of learning tai ji quan (Hernandez-Reif, Field, & Thimas, 2001). Baron and Faubert (2004) also reported that tai ji quan helped to reduce anxiety and positively enhance mood among upper elementary children with severe learning disabilities.

Tai Ji Quan in Physical Education Programs

In addition to the aforementioned physical, mental, and therapeutic benefits, there are other fundamental reasons to support the integration of tai ji quan into physical education programs.

1. It helps students to achieve the current physical education program goal. Despite the diverse nature of physical education in North America, the goal of current physical education programs generally focuses on enabling individuals to develop an active and healthy lifestyle (Rink, 2006; Turkington, 2001). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How to Integrate Tai Ji Quan into Physical Education Programs: This Ancient Exercise Can Benefit Students' Body and Mind
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.