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How many calories do you burn doing Tai Chi or Qigong?

A lot of people talk about how Tai Chi and Qigong is good for you. But few say how it is good for you. I can leave the various reasons for another article, because the the breadth and depth is huge. What the immediate focus of what you can achieve is health. At the very basic level, its exercise, but people do ask whether Tai Chi & Qigong can help you lose weight? If so, how many calories can you expect to burn?

Whilst Tai Chi is a martial art. It is often thought that you don't use much energy. However, after one session, you feel tiredness. Appearances can be deceiving, Tai Chi looks effortless, but you do use energy. How much you use depends on a number of factors. i.e. your weight, the style you train, what activities are included and for how long. I have looked at various websites, but few can offer any solid evidence, probably because you need a large sample to get that sort of data. However, they are consistent in that you do burn a good amount of calories. This article is about the general idea, as opposed to solid facts.

How does Tai Chi compare with other martial arts?

Well 30 minutes of kickboxing (not a true martial art) you can expect to burn 360 – 955 calories. With Chinese Gong Fu, you could burn about 350 calories. With Karate it would be around 360 calories. With Tai Chi, it is around 150. OK, so that's not much. But if your class is an hour (the recommended time), then the figures look better. I assume that people refer to just the Tai Chi hand form. However, if you participate in pushing hands, sparring and weapon work, then you will burn as much calories as other martial arts. You can't do all these things in the space of an hour. Which is why various sources cannot be considered reliable. Another question people should ask themselves is, do these activities suit me?

In terms of low impact exercise, how does Tai Chi and Qigong compare. Yoga is often compared with Tai Chi and Qigong and for a 30 minute session, you could be looking at around 150 calories. This also depends on the kind of yoga you do. A 30 minute walk could burn between 90 to 200 calories. If you go hiking, then double that. If you stand a lot, then you can look at burning 50 calories by standing for 30 minutes. Qigong generally has less leg movement that Tai Chi, but it is no less effective. Qigong can be still or have arm and waist movement. However, you're still using energy if you move and the hence a good form of exercise.

Both Tai Chi and Qigong can be beneficial to weight loss, but this only works with regular practice and a good balanced diet. Remember, it is about the quality of your practice, not the quantity.

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