The Tai Chi classics always say you should not do strength training with tai Chi, but you have to look at that in context. The classics were Witten in a very different time when life was more physical than today.
Work was Hard Physical Work
Go back just a hundred years ago most ordinary people walked everywhere, they couldn’t afford anything else. Several miles a day would not be unusual, say in the region of 20,000 steps if trackers had been invented at the time. Working in a factory lifting heavy objects, pulling and pushing equipment and generally on the go all of the time. Working on the land, everything would be manual with little equipment used.
As Strong as Crofter on the Farm
When my Dad was doing mine sweeping duties just after the second world war one of his mates was a Scottish Crofter in civilian life. He said that this guy was incredibly strong and could lift and throw one of the mine marker boys over his head on his own. The boys weighed hundreds of pounds and he would do this all day long. He gained his prodigious strength working on the farm in the far north of Scotland where life was hard and money was scarce. He and his brother would pull the plough as they could not afford a horse while his Dad steered! He and his brother were fearsomely strong and needed to eat huge amounts of food with good reason they burned it off just as fast.
Hard Work at Home
At home people had to pump water up or carry it from the well. Trees had to be chopped for firewood or heavy buckets of coal. Just washing the clothes was a mammoth task, scrubbing, working the mangle to squeeze out the soapy water went on for hours. My Dad related that my Great Gran had forearms like Popeye, she so strong. My mum walked back miles from the shops then up three floors of stairs with big shopping bags full of tins before the advent of refrigerators in everyone’s home. It was simply part of her day and didn’t bat an eyelid doing it.
I expect most of our parents, grand parents and great grand parents would have similar stories to this. It fills me with wonder how resourceful and resilient our forebears were.
The Dangers of Our Sedentary Lives
Unlike those who went before us many of us spend our days on our bums at a desk. Whereas they would burn through 6,000 calories a day the average now is about 2,000 to 2,500. Gone are the days or all of that physical work in the Weston world. Is it any wonder we have problems with weight gain and all of the ills that go with it?
As we Age Our Muscles Shrink and Fat takes its place.
Medical authorities now are encouraging those in later age to do physical activity especially strength work to ward off the problems of aging. Using strength building activities like weight training, Kettle Bells and the like or just push ups and squats using your body weight will help build strength too.
Strength Building Exercises
Can Also include;
Our own Hsing I martial arts and of course Tai Chi will build strength too
And many more.
Obviously check up with your health professional before you start any exercise programme just to be on the safe side.
An Active Life with Tai chi and Qigong.
Now that sounds like a plan, balancing physical exercise with the energy building Tai Chi and Qigong meditation.