What Is Tai Chi and Why It’s Good for Seniors
Tai Chi is not new and has been a go-to exercise regimen for seniors for a very long time. It’s easy enough to learn, is not overly demanding on the muscles and articulations, and can be practiced alone or in a group.
Because of its relaxing and low-impact nature, Tai Chi is one of the most popular exercises for the over 50s.
What Is Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art discipline that combines deep breathing, meditation, and slow movements without pause. The practice is done in a leisurely fashion with flowing slow movements mixed with deep breathing.
Some of the movements are named after actions involving animals like “Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane,” “Carry the Tiger Over the Mountain,” and “White Crane Spreads its Wings.” You get the picture!
Tai Chi, when done right, brings all of the positive health benefits that regular exercise and meditation provide. It is sometimes called “meditation in motion.”
Tai Chi is based on the Chinese belief in energy and harmony.
- Qi is the energy that naturally flows through the body and Tai Chi is said to unblock and help ease the flow of this energy.
- Yin & Yang is the opposition of elements (good and bad) in the universe. Tai Chi helps balance the harmony between all elements for a balanced life.
Tai Chi for Over 50s
You can start benefiting from the positive effects of Tai Chi on your body and mind even if you have been inactive for several years and have some physical ailments. The practice is gentle enough for a variety of body types and flexibility levels. You can even do Tai Chi from a wheelchair.
In parks all over the world, you can see groups of older individuals moving in harmony through gentle swaying movements. They seem so peaceful and in a trance-like state. Don’t you sometimes want to join them?
Tai Chi is often doctor-recommended alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle. That being said, it’s always wise to talk to your doctor before starting any type of physical activity.
Benefits of Tai Chi
According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch:
“A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for Tai Chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age. An adjunct therapy is one that’s used together with primary medical treatments, either to address a disease itself or its primary symptoms, or, more generally, to improve a patient’s functioning and quality of life.”
Some of the best known benefits of Tai Chi for seniors:
Moving keeps us flexible and mobile. “You snooze, you lose” can be applied to your body and muscles as well. Keep it active and keep it healthy.
Tai Chi can particularly be helpful to improve your posture, muscle strength, and balance.
Manage Arthritis and other Chronic Conditions
Tai Chi is gentle enough to practice even if you have a condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia. Tai Chi can help keep your joints and muscles healthy to reduce the symptoms.
*Check with your doctor or health care practitioner to find out if Tai Chi is good for your existing medical condition.
The ancient Chinese exercise is said to calm the brain and bring peace and harmony inside your body and mind. Tai Chi practitioners note the reduction in stress and anxiety in their everyday lives when they practice this martial art regularly.
Improved Memory and Concentration
Tai Chi is a series of movements that need to be learned. Be patient with yourself because it may take time to memorize all the actions. Over time, you will notice your memory and concentration improve.
You can practice Tai Chi alone in your home, or you can join a group that gets together regularly. Check on social media platforms for groups that are in your area.
This can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends, especially if you live alone. And, even if you practice in a group, you are still doing the movements individually, with enough distance from others to stay safe.
To find out more about Tai Chi and to get started, visit the Tai Chi Heath website for more information.
What do you think about Tai Chi? Have you ever tried it? Do you practice it often? Do you think that you will try it? Let’s have a conversation!