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What is Tai Chi and What Is It Good For?

August 22nd, 2018

By: Amy Adaniel

Everyone needs exercise to stay healthy, including older adults. However, as people age, it may be harder to start a new exercise routine. Aging joints and weakened muscles may make some kinds of exercise too difficult and painful. So, when your aging relative’s doctor suggests they get more exercise, what kinds of exercise can they do? One form of exercise that is often recommended by health care experts is Tai Chi. If you’re not familiar with Tai Chi, knowing more about it can help you decide if it might be right for your loved one.

About Tai Chi

Tai chi is a kind of martial art that isn’t competitive. It was first developed as a self-defense technique. Tai chi uses slow, gentle movements. Though it has been around for centuries, it doesn’t take centuries to learn. In fact, it’s relatively easy and offers immediate health benefits. Tai chi combines several principles, including:

  • Using both mind and body cooperatively.
  • Controlled movements combined with breathing.
  • Mindfulness.

Nearly anyone of any age or fitness level can do tai chi. It doesn’t put a lot of pressure on joints or cause muscle strain, making it a great form of exercise for most older adults. It’s also an inexpensive form of exercise because it doesn’t require special equipment. It can also be done inside, outside, alone, or in a group setting.

Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Studies have indicated that tai chi has many health benefits. Some of them are:

  • Reduction of stress and anxiety.
  • Less depression.
  • Better balance.
  • More flexibility.
  • Stronger muscles.
  • Better sleep quality.
  • Stronger immune system.
  • Lower blood pressure levels.
  • Less joint pain.
  • Decreased risk of falling.

Getting Started

Although tai chi is generally considered safe, your aging relative should still talk to their doctor before taking up a new exercise routine. It’s possible to learn how to do tai chi at home by exercising with a DVD or online video. However, the Mayo Clinic suggests that the best way to learn tai chi is by taking a class with a qualified instructor.

Many communities have tai chi classes available. An elder care provider can assist your aging relative to find one. Elder care providers can help conduct an online search for a class or call around to local gyms and the senior center to see if they have a class available. Once the older adult finds a class, elder care can offer transportation. If the senior decides to learn tai chi on their own, an elder care provider can monitor their exercise to ensure they remain safe.

Sources
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265507.php
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184
https://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/what-is-tai-chi/

If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Elder Care in Boynton Beach, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At BrightStar Care Today! 561-921-0550.