Seeking to roll back the clock? Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, may be the answer.
A new study published in Cell Transplantation found that Tai Chi can help raise the numbers of a stem cell -- CD34 cells -- important to a number of the body's functions and structures.
To evaluate the potential life-lengthening effect of Tai Chi, researchers conducted a year-long study comparing the rejuvenating and anti-aging effects among three groups of volunteers under age 25 who engaged in either Tai Chi, brisk walking or no exercise at all.
"We used young volunteers because they have better cell-renewing abilities than the old population and we also wanted to avoid having chronic diseases and medications as interfering factors," said study author Dr. Shinn-Zong Lin of the China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan, in a release.
According to the study's authors, Tai Chi "has been confirmed to benefit" patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease and fibromyalgia. In addition, Tai Chi also appears to help with balance, blood pressure and stress reduction.
The new study found that those who practiced Tai Chi enjoyed a significantly higher number of CD34 cells than those in the other groups.
"This study provides the first step into providing scientific evidence for the possible health benefits of Tai Chi." said Dr. Paul R. Sanberg of the University of South Florida, Tampa, in a release. "Further study of how Tai Chi can elicit benefit in different populations and on different parameters of aging are necessary to determine its full impact."
Yet over the years, many studies have linked Tai Chi with various health benefits.
For example, one study from 2012 found that Tai Chi can give your memory a boost. Indeed scientists found that elderly Chinese people who practiced Tai Chi just three times a week for eight months performed better on memory tests than those who didn't do Tai Chi.
Still another study from 2012 -- this one involving people with Parkinson's -- found that Tai Chi improved balance and lowered the risk of falls.
Tai Chi, which originated over 2,000 years ago in China, emphasizes breathing and involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner.