To get a better reading on your overall health and wellness, you should be better off looking at the strength and structure of your circle of friends, says a study. According to the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers were interested in what the structure of social networks says about the state of health, happiness and stress.
“What we found was the social network structure provides a significant improvement in predictability of wellness states of an individual over just using the data derived from wearables, like the number of steps or heart rate,” said the study lead author Nitesh V. Chawla, a researcher of Indian origin from University of Notre Dame in the US.
For the study, participants wore Fitbit to capture health behaviour data — such as steps, sleep, heart rate and activity level and completed surveys and self-assessments about their feelings of stress, happiness and positivity.
The research team then analysed the data, using machine learning, alongside an individual’s social network characteristics, including degree, centrality, clustering coefficient and number of triangles.
The study showed a strong correlation between social network structures, heart rate, number of steps and level of activity. According to the researchers, social network structure provided significant improvement in predicting one’s health and well-being compared to just looking at health behaviour data from the Fitbit alone.
For example, when social network structure is combined with the data derived from wearables, the machine learning model achieved a 65 per cent improvement in predicting happiness, 54 per cent improvement in predicting one’s self-assessed health prediction, 55 per cent improvement in predicting positive attitude, and 38 per cent improvement in predicting success.
“This study asserts that without social network information, we only have an incomplete view of an individual’s wellness state, and to be fully predictive or to be able to derive interventions, it is critical to be aware of the social network structural features as well,” Chawla said. (IANS)
Martial art has always been an art that kept our jaws dropped; the swift hand movements, graceful yet tricky foot works and the journey to find inner peace. Tai chi is a form of martial arts that circles in the philosophy of yin and yang to increase the qi or chi (which means life force of an entity) through gentle and graceful movements. That’s right, no breaking of bones or repeated punching of the opponents. Although it originated as a martial art, now Tai Chi for health is being exercised by over 2 billion people worldwide.
Since the global promotion of the health benefits of Tai Chi in the early 20th century, the majority interest has shown inclinations more towards personal wellness rather than defense training.
Philosophy of Tai Chi
Its principles are drawn to softness, patience, yielding, balance, tranquility and centeredness. The manifestation of all these aspects allows one to master Tai Chi.
The philosophy of Tai Chi martial art is centered on the attitude that by using hardness to resist a force, the injury is done on both sides. Instead, one should meet the opponent in its softness and follow its motion until the incoming force is exhausted. Surprisingly the lesson is to defeat strong with pliable.
Tai Chi for health institutes the same philosophy towards the wellness of the body.
Why is Tai Chi practiced for a healthy life?
This ancient Chinese art is based on three aspects: body (jing), energy (chi) and spirit (Shen). You are not practicing on body alone but on energy too, a well-combined exercise of meditation and movement. In China, people believe that Tai Chi can delay aging and prolong longevity. This exercise is adaptable to any age groups.
People are turning to Tai Chi to improve their health for its gentle and non-strenuous applications which has shown a positive effect on balance, flexibility, muscle strength and relieving stress. It has also significantly reduced pain and minimised the degree of depression in some cases.
More balance: We do not always fall because we stumble on something, but our body normally stays out of balance when we are not mindful. Tai Chi can help in reducing falls by correcting our posture. This is potentially beneficial to help in reducing elderly people from falling and tripping often.
Chronic heart failures: Though there are no definite conclusions that this therapy acts as a preventive measure against cardiovascular diseases it is evident that practicing Tai Chi is an advantage in keeping checks on one’s blood pressure and heart rates.
Reduction of chronic pain: A significant impact has been recorded to improve chronic pain by arthritis. A twelve-week course demonstrated bettering the stiffness and pain symptoms of the knee caused by osteoarthritis.
Reduced signs of fibromyalgia: Adhering to its philosophy of tranquility the practice of Tai Chi helps to calm the mind inducing a sound sleep to sleep-deprived fibromyalgia patients. This therapy also improves other symptoms like anxiety, numbness, headaches, fatigue, concentration and memory problems.
Stress buster: Stress is one of the most common and deadliest silent killers regardless of age. Practicing Tai Chi has been found to make stress go away. There is no direct record of reduction of stress, but subject studies have shown that mental control helped in distracting the mind to give attention elsewhere.
Seated Tai Chi: Good news for those who cannot exercise because they are confined to wheelchairs and also for those who are bound to work chairs. Without getting up, you can relieve yourself from stress, improve oxygen intake, balance blood pressure and build muscle strength. This technique involves stretching the upper body gently along with slow and graceful movement of the arms.
If your strength is perseverance, then you are already halfway through the course because this is a slow and challenging exercise. It may take years for you to get into the principles of healing through this therapy completely.
And if you are impatient, you could start looking forward to attaining one of Tai Chi’s principles which are ‘patience’ and move forward in completing the full course.
One can always have faith in this ancient practice because there is a plausible explanation as to why it still has a profound impact on human well being. The Tai Chi for Health Institute offers a good place to learn and teach Tai Chi martial arts therapy.