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Tens of millions of people, both old and young, practice Tai Chi in China and Chinatowns all around the globe. Researchers have found that long term practice of Tai Chi has favourable effects on balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and also a reduced risk of falls in the elderly. Tai Chi routines are slow and do not involve the use of weights. This makes it especially ideal for the elderly. Studies by the Oregon Research Institute has shown that Tai Chi offers the greatest benefit to older men and women who are healthy but relatively inactive.

Improved cardiovascular and respiratory functions have been found in healthy subjects as well as those who have undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. Those who suffer from heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, arthritis and multiple sclerosis have all benefited from Tai Chi.

A surprising fact about the slow and gentle low impact movements of Tai Chi is that is has been proven to burn more calories than surfing and skiing.

There are a variety of types in Tai Chi. Most of them begin with a series of controlled movements or forms. Some of the types have fanciful names like Grasping the Sparrow's Tail or Repulse the Monkey. There are many books from which information may be sourced. There are also a growing number of recreational centres, health clubs and residential organisation who conduct Tai Chi sessions each day.

Tai Chi is flexible in allowing participants to practice at their own pace. An added benefit is the enlarging of one's social circle. The lack of urgency in the movements is of special appeal for the elderly. This also means that there is no risk of injuries to life, limb or creaky joints. Intense focus is combined with slow elegant movements that improve agility, strength and balance.

The actual benefit of following a routine of Tai Chi will only be evident after several months of continuous practice. But the enhanced health can translate into a whole new lifestyle. When people start to feel healthier and better, they naturally become more active in their daily life.

One expert in chronic disease prevention opines that a combination of Tai Chi and walking would be a good mix. The most promising fact about Tai Chi is that the practitioners enjoy performing it. This brings the promise of continuity and its long term benefits.

It is indeed easy to tell people to make exercise a part of their daily routine. What is difficult is telling them what to do in the name of exercise. There is a valid reason for this. People's tastes differ. Some may like rigorous physical exertion that leaves them breathless and sweating heavily. Others may have reasons not to like this or not to be able to like this. One's age and state of health are important factors. A healthy youngster may take up long distance running. An elderly or sickly person may not last running a long distance.

Tai Chi is perfect for almost everybody because it requires no heavy physical exertion, has no religious connotations and is proven to improve health when done on a regular basis. Further investigation into Tai Chi may throw up greater details, including the fact that there is nothing in it that may be considered controversial in any manner.


Answer the following questions using complete sentences



From paragraph 1, how popular is Tai Chi ?



(a) From paragraph 2, what are the effects of Tai Chi on people with cardiovascular and respiratory problems ?

(b) From paragraph 2, what was the effect of Tai Chi on persons who had had coronary artery bypass surgery ?



(a) From paragraph 5, what is the flexibility inherent in Tai Chi ?

(b) From paragraph 5, what are the two factors that make Tai Chi attractive to the elderly ?



(a) From paragraph 8, what are the important factors to be considered when planning an exercise regime ?

(b) From paragraph 8, mention the factors that make Tai Chi an ideal choice for everybody.



What is the special characteristic of Tai Chi that makes it ideal to improve ones health ?

Characteristic : ___________

Reason : ____________



Based on the passage, write a summary of :

The importance of having an exercise regimen

The superiority of Tai Chi as a choice of an exercise regimen




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Every single day over ten million people practice Tai Chi. It is indeed quite popular.



(a) Cardiovascular and respiratory functions were found to have improved after regular Tai Chi.

(b) Their cardiovascular and respiratory functions improved.



(a) Tai Chi can be practiced at the participant's own pace.


(i) There is the lack of urgency in the movements.

(ii) There is no risk of injuries to life, limb or creaky joints.



(a) One's age and state of health are the important factors to be considered.

(b) It requires no heavy physical exertion, has no religious connotations and is proven it improve health when done on a regular basis.



Characteristic: The special characteristic of Tai Chi is that it brings the benefit of rigorous exercise by being performed in an unhurried manner. Besides, it is ideal for people of all ages.

Reason : Studies have been cited which proved that cardiovascular and respiratory functions were improved by Tai Chi, even in heart patients. Heart patients, it may be noted, are people who are specifically advised against over exerting themselves.


Tai Chi has universal appeal because it is ideal for people of all ages. Urban life is typified by a lack of physical exertion as compared to life in rural villages. The importance of exercise to maintain health is a proven fact. Tai Chi involves no physical exertion as would be imagined by the word exercise. It is done at one's own pace. There is no need to keep up with others. Involving gently paced movements, it is ideal for heart patients, the elderly, the sickly as well as the healthy. There are no controversial factors in the origin of Tai Chi that may stand as a hurdle for the religious minded. With more than 10 million enthusiasts doing it all over the world, it has a track record that is completely clean and effective.


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Comprehension 1


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