Weight Gain Prevention – An Hour of Exercise Every Day?

Several recent studies show that an hour of exercise a day can help women maintain their body weight. Today’s article in About.com points out some flaws in the studies (see below link.) However, the minor flaws don’t outweigh the basic discoveries that the studies support and that ancient Daoists – and many Chinese today — have faith in.
Ancient picture of Daoyin recovered from Mawangdui Tomb, former kingdom of Changsha, China.
Daoyin, ancient longevity and healing practices, include regular, gentle stretching movements that most anyone of any age can undertake fearlessly. These healing exercises have been practiced for thousands of years in China and can be seen in parks throughout the Middle Kingdom most every morning today — whether the practitioner is Daoist or otherwise.
Daoist believe these ‘healing exercises’ should be done daily, sometimes twice a day, as preventative medicine – before illness or discomfort arises.*
But some of my students have complained that they cannot possibly add even one more hour to their already hectic daily schedules. Since I believe Daoyin and other longevity practices are integral to good health, I counsel them to break that hour down into 15 minutes, four times a day, to help them achieve their goal of feeling great, maintaining their weight. and helping to prevent illness.
Fan Li, ancient Chinese Business man, overlooks Zhejiang Economic & Trade Polytechnic.
For example, last year when I was teaching full time at a University in Hangzhou, I sometimes found that 15 minutes of practice in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, and a half an hour before or after dinner helped.
Although many Daoyin practices — if followed scrupulously — could take up the major portion of anyone’s day, cobbling together 15 minutes of practice here and there is better than no practice at all. [Of course, a good diet is also crucial for optimum health and weight management. For weight loss, more than an hour may be necessary.]
Xing Shen Zhuang Fa 
One rare form of Daoyin exercise — xing shen zhuang — is focused on liberating the spine. These gentle yet powerful movements will open, align and awaken the entire body from the spine outward, leaving practitioners feeling lighter, more centered, confident and awake. I learned the form from two disciples of Master Wang Liping, current lineage holder of Quanzhen Longmen Pai. The form is taught outside monasteries by only a handful of people today.
Broken down into 15 minute segments, four times a day, this rare form of Daoyin can help anyone feel more balanced, happy and alive without stress, strain or hardship.

Weight Gain Prevention – An Hour of Exercise Every Day?

* See Livia Kohn, 2008, Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin, University of Hawai’i press, pg. 58.


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