Tai Chi is an excellent martial art to learn if you want to ease yourself back into exercise. It’s not as strenuous as other art forms but it will still help you get a full work out and even boost your energy levels. However, some people report just the opposite!
“Why do I feel tired after Tai Chi?” Feeling tired after Tai Chi is actually quite common. You might be lacking proper sleep, lacking a proper diet that gives you the energy you need, and lacking proper hydration. Perhaps the workout is more intensive than you are used to.
Finally, there could be an underlying medical issue for which you need to consult your doctor.
Let’s take a good look at why you feel tired after tai chi and see what we can do about them.
Why You Feel Tired After Tai Chi: 5 Common Causes
Tai Chi has been called “meditation in motion”. It’s a free-flowing martial art which is, generally, practiced in a slow, measured manner that allows practitioners to gain mental and physical health benefits.
It combines breathing, meditation, movement and awareness techniques and it is this potent approach to holistic well-being that has brought millions of people to study Tai Chi in the 20th century.
However, while most people who practice Tai Chi feel good and energized at the end of a session – there are a few people that report the reverse, that they feel tired after practicing Tai Chi. There are 5 main causes of this.
You’re Not Sleeping Enough At Night
It might sound obvious, but it isn’t always, a lack of sleep leads to tiredness and in particular, it leads to tiredness after exercise. Tai Chi may be a gentle form of exercise, but it is a real exercise and you will be exerting yourself while you practice.
164 million Americans, according to Consumer Reports, struggle to a get a good night’s sleep. So, if you find yourself in this boat – you are not alone. Unfortunately, this has much broader health implications than just feeling tired after Tai Chi. For some reason, men are particularly at risk for having sleep issues as they get older.
Your Diet Isn’t Conducive To Keeping Your Energy Levels Up
Eating a balanced diet is important to much more than your energy levels but in the case of Tai Chi practice – it’s important to realize that you are going to burn energy throughout the exercise and you will need to ensure that you’ve eaten in a manner to allow you to do that.
This means that you should be avoiding sugars. Sugar is good at giving you a very short burst of energy but once it’s depleted – you tend to find yourself tired and listless. There’s nothing left for your body to burn and oddly, even if you are overweight, it’s hard for your body to switch from burning sugar to burning fat. So, it can’t get energy from that source either.
You Haven’t Drunk Enough Water
If you feel thirsty, assuming that you are not suffering from diabetes (which can lead to constant feelings of thirst) then you are almost certainly lacking water in your body. They estimate a feeling of thirst represents a deficiency of 2-3% of the total water needed to keep your body operating in a healthy manner.
If you then go ahead and do exercise like Tai Chi, you’re going to find that you become even more dehydrated. This then leaves you with less fluid in your body, which makes it harder for your blood to travel around your body (the fluid from the bloodstream is diverted elsewhere) and that makes it harder for oxygen to travel around your body and when you lack oxygen, you feel tired.
You Are Working Out Harder Than You Are Used To
If you have not done any exercise in recent times and you find that you’re feeling tired at the end of a Tai Chi session, you might be “over-exercising”. Yes, that sounds like a ridiculous concept but it’s not – it’s a real thing and feeling tired is a symptom of over-exercise.
Other symptoms of this include: feeling depressed, mood swings, trouble sleeping, sore muscles/heavy limbs, injuries, etc. and it’s important that you keep a close eye on your overall level of comfort following exercise if you are concerned that you are doing too much exercise, for now.
You Might Have An Underlying Medical Problem
This is not an article that is diagnosing any health problems with you or for you. However, Healthline has a fairly lengthy list of conditions which can cause fatigue. Please don’t be alarmed as it usually not serious, or life-threatening. But do consult a doctor and see if it’s anything that can be diagnosed and/or fixed.
How To Stop Feeling Tired After Tai Chi
OK, the good news is that you can tackle most of these issues by carrying out some sensible steps to deal with them.
Get More Rest!
If you’re not sleeping enough then you’ll know that the advice to “get more rest!” sounds self-defeating. If you could sleep more, you would, right?
Well, hopefully the Tai Chi will make this easier for you – two of the suggested mechanisms for getting more sleep are “take exercise” as this can help you feel tired enough to sleep and “take up meditation” and while Tai Chi and meditation are not exactly the same, the meditative techniques used in Tai Chi are likely to lead to the same ends.
Now, you cannot sleep for long enough if you don’t go to bed for long enough, but assuming you give yourself the opportunity to sleep for a good 8 hours – it is possible to achieve. If you need more help with sleeping, then talk to a doctor.
Eat A Healthier Diet!
A healthy diet is high in fiber and offers plenty of fat and protein. It’s relatively low in sugar. If you want to eat for energy, then healthy proteins and healthy fats are much more useful sources of energy than sugar.
Firstly, for general health – you’ll find that if you eat protein and fat that you feel full for longer, so you will consume fewer calories each day. Secondly, for Tai Chi – you will find that you can burn the energy from proteins and fats more consistently, so there won’t be a slump at the end of your exercise routine.
Drink More Fluids (Not Beer, Sorry)
Dehydration is, without a doubt, the easiest of these problems to overcome. You just need to drink more water. How much water? Until you don’t feel thirsty at any time. There is no fixed amount of water that every human being needs in a day – as you might expect a tribes-person wandering through the Sahara desert needs a bit more water than someone sat at a desk in New York city all day long.
Just make sure you have a glass of water or two before your Tai Chi session and then have another after your session is finished.
Take Things A Little Easier
Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t go from no exercise for months or years to running marathons within a week. If you think you’re suffering from symptoms of over-exercise (and over-exercise varies from person to person – it can be brought on by Tai Chi) then cut down a bit.
Shorten your Tai Chi sessions by a few minutes and slowly build up to longer sessions. The fitter you become, the longer you can work out for without becoming over-exercised.
Talk To A Health Professional
Finally, it is impossible for any article on the internet to diagnose your health problems. If you’ve tried everything above and you still feel tired after Tai Chi, the best thing you can do is see a medical professional and get their advice.
As you’ve already seen, some underlying causes of tiredness can be very serious. So, it’s a good idea to get someone to give you a checkup.
Now you know why you feel tired after Tai Chi and the good news is that most of these issues are very easy to tackle. Over time, as long as you get enough sleep and eat right (with plenty of water) you will find that you can do more and more Tai Chi without becoming tired.
In fact, once you’ve been doing Tai Chi for a longer period of time, you’ll find that you come away from your practice feeling energized and uplifted. That’s why it’s such a popular martial art because anyone can do it and it makes them feel better.