Tai Chi for Seniors
Sally Perkins explains why Tai Chi is an excellent choice for Seniors.
Studies at Harvard Medical School have revealed that, alongside conventional medicine, Tai Chi can be used effectively to treat and prevent age-related health conditions. It has been practiced to significant effect by older adults with different levels of fitness, as well as people with physical impairments. Meanwhile, the meditative nature of Tai Chi also makes it a helpful relaxation tool, both in and outside the world of sport.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi not only offers a cost-effective way of exercising in later life, but it is gentle on the joints, which is particularly important as we age. There are various styles of Tai Chi, but they all follow the same sort of principles and actions. Tai Chi brings together elements of dance and yoga, focusing on building overall strength and flexibility through controlled movements and breathing. The series of movements encourage the participant to hold a position for a sustained period, before moving gracefully into the next position.
What are the benefits?
Tai Chi comes with several physical and psychological benefits. The steady, flowing movements and held positions help strengthen upper and lower muscles, depending on the stretch used, as well as flexibility. Tai Chi also helps to improve balance, with the core muscles working to keep you in position as well as your concentration levels. This is increasingly important with age, as it helps prevent you from falling. Meanwhile, recent research revealed that the mindful and gently aerobic nature of Tai Chi can reduce anxiety and depression - something that people are more prone to after the age of 65.
How much Tai Chi should I do as an older adult?
As a low-impact form of exercise, it is realistic to aim to do at least 15-20 minutes of Tai Chi a day. When starting, it is advisable to learn from a trained instructor before practicing yourself each day. Tai Chi is very flexible in that it can be done anywhere - preferably somewhere not too noisy, to make it easier for you to relax. You might find it helpful to pair up with a friend or to join a group; this can keep you motivated to practice regularly, while also helping build camaraderie with others.
You're never too old to take up Tai Chi
The idea of staying active may seem more challenging in later life, particularly if you have not exercised a lot in the past. However, Tai Chi provides a way of exercising that is low-impact, flexible, and fun. Fifteen minutes a day can bring about noticeable benefits in mind and body, making it a great choice - whatever your age.
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About the Author
Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years' experience across many different areas. She made a move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and travelling as much as possible.