05/12/2014 06:13 pm ET Updated Jul 12, 2014

12 Reasons to Try Tai Chi

Before I won a gold medal for Yang Tai Chi at the 2014 International Chinese Martial Arts Championships in Los Angeles, I had spent many decades drawn to this beautiful meditative movement, but unable to find a place to learn it. I was also... too busy.

"I'm too busy to meditate" is something I often hear from friends who are drawn to meditation, or even advised by doctors to meditate in order to reduce stress. I love Gabrielle Bernstein's response to our lament. She asks, "Do you have time to feel like sh*t?"

The arguments against daily meditation don't hold much weight. Heavily documented by science and thousands of years of tradition to be really great, five minutes a day spent nourishing your life, health, energy, and clarity with Tai Chi will empower you to face your life and our world with more light and strength.

Taking five minutes to practice Tai Chi out of the 1,440 minutes given to you in each day is truly not that much. And when you consider the mountain of scientific evidence supporting health benefits from Tai Chi, it seems like a great deal. You give five minutes, and you get:

1. Better sleep!
2. Weight loss, particularly at the waist.
3. Improved immune function. You won't get sick as much! (You'll need this to survive the antibiotic resistant superbugs we've created by over-prescribing antibiotics.)
4. Reduced stress levels. Not initially impressed by this fact? Consider that 99.9 percent of all disease is either caused by or exacerbated by stress. It's a big deal.
5. Better bone density. Even the U.S. Surgeon General recommends it.
6. Reduced pain, improved mood, better physical function, and improved flexibility in osteo-arthritics, decreases pain and fatigue in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Helps prevent heart disease and helps alleviate anxiety.
8. Helps alleviate symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes and helps lessen need for meds .
9. Improves psychological well being and helps alleviates depression.
10. Helps alleviates symptoms of asthma in children and adults, and improves quality of life for asthmatics.
11. Better balance, flexibility, and strength.
12. Tai Chi helps thicken the brain's cortex, which means it may help protect practitioners from depression, Alzheimer's, and dementia, all associated with the thinning of the cortex.

I'm grateful to have learned this practice from Dr. Ming-Dong Li at Yo San University. For the next 24 weeks, I'll demonstrate one form each week of the 24-form practice (five minutes to practice). It's too good not to share it. I'm glad I'll have a little help from my friends...