Complexity loss

A large and growing body of research suggests that biological complexity breaks down with aging.
Various tissues and organs and their communication pathways gradually diminish and lead to disease or disability.

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Health

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The process of simplification can be a sign of aging.

Our youthful health depends on complexity. Bones get strength from detailed scaffolds and connective tissue. Even the heartbeat relies on elaborate networks and controls. As our bodies age, these structures lose complexity, making them less resilient and eventually leading to frailty and disease.

A complex process involves various components interacting across multiple scales in time and space. To lift a foot requires electrical, chemical, and mechanical parts to coordinate across molecular, cellular, organ, and systemic levels.

We may be able to slow, or even reverse, some of the complexity loss due to aging. Adding complexity to your daily routine can have far-reaching effects.

  • Aerobic exercise and resistance training can increase heart rate complexity.
  • Tai Chi, combined with physical movement, breathing techniques, and meditation, affects postural control.
  • An extensive and diverse social network promotes better health and wellbeing.
  • Learning new skills or solving mental puzzles can improve cognitive function.

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Tai Chi

Is a mind-body practice that involves a series of slow, flowing exercises that combine movement, meditation, and rhythmic breathing. Initially developed as a martial art, it's now commonly practiced as a form of "moving meditation."

Many practitioners of tai chi use this technique to enhance physical and mental health, as well as to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength. In addition, tai chi is said to boost mood, alleviate pain, strengthen the immune system, and improve heart health.

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Getting Started With Tai Chi
  • Find a tai chi branch that matches your needs.Β 
  • Check with your doctor before starting if you have a physical limitations or take medications that affect your balance.
  • Watch and take a class.Β 
  • If you'd rather learn at home, you can get tai chi books or videos.
  • Talk to the instructor. Experienced teachers who accommodate individual peculiarities are ideal.
  • Dress comfortably with nonrestrictive loose-fitting clothes.
  • You can practice barefoot or in lightweight and flexible shoes.
  • Most tai chi programs last at least 12 weeks, with instruction once or twice a week and practice at home. By then, you should know if you enjoy tai chi.
  • Fall reduction: tai chi helps to prevent trips and falls in the elderly. It also reduced the fear of falling among them and increased balance and posture.
  • Chronic pain: tai chi significantly impacts the chronic pain experienced with specific conditions, such as osteoarthritis of the knee and fibromyalgia. There is also evidence it decreases joint stiffness.
  • Chronic heart failure: tai chi was shown to improve maximum oxygen capacity in people who had heart attacks. And, although the evidence is inconclusive, tai chi seems to benefit areas of cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Mental health and cognitive function: There is strong evidence showing beneficial effects on cognitive function. And, although scientific evidence is inconclusive, tai chi is associated with mindfulness and psychological well-being.

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