Study finds tai chi is a surprisingly effective way to shed belly fat

The internal Chinese martial art practice commonly referred to as tai chi may be just as good as regular aerobic and weight training exercise when it comes to shedding belly fat, according to a new study from UCLA and multiple other international universities. The study involved middle-aged and older adults who had central obesity, a big risk factor when it comes to metabolic syndrome.

Whereas conventional exercise commonly involves things like lifting weights or performing aerobic activities like jogging, tai chi is a movement-based martial art that involves assuming different postures. This activity is largely regarded as a low-impact exercise activity for people who may, for example, have joint pain or other issues that make impact-based activities risky or painful.

The new study comes from UCLA's Health Sciences, as well as the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The researchers looked into tai chi and its potential impact on central obesity, which is often regarded as a major risk factor for other health problems like type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The tai chi group was joined by participants assigned to perform conventional exercises, as well as a control group who didn't exercise. The participants assigned to either exercise group were given the same duration of exercise to perform over the course of 12 weeks.

At the end of that three-month period, the researchers found that tai chi offered the same benefits as common exercises in these adults when it came to reducing central obesity. That's good news because central obesity is one of the biggest risk factors that come with metabolic syndrome, which can include other things like high blood pressure, high levels of 'bad' cholesterol, high blood sugar, and more.