The Benefits of Tai Chi for SeniorsJune 05, 2019
Physical fitness programs are a very important part of any active senior living community. At Blue Harbor, our exercise and movement program encourages residents to remain physically active and emotionally healthy. The planned activities are designed to be accessible and low impact, encouraging physical healing along with increased balance and stability (read all about the benefits of balance exercises for older adults!).
One of our favorite joint-friendly, low-impact forms of exercise? Tai Chi! As a part of our varied exercise and movement classes, our instructors love to incorporate the principles of Tai Chi or T'ai Chi Ch'uan, helping our residents to enhance their physical and emotional well-being.
History of Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a martial art that started in 12th century China and has since then taken on many styles and usages, ranging from self-defense to meditation and stress reduction. T'ai Chi Ch'uan roughly translates as "boundless fist" and has become very popular all over the world, not only for its role in martial arts, but also for its positive effects on both physical and mental health. Although the practice is rooted in Eastern philosophy and culture, it has become increasingly popular in the West, with more and more scientific studies reaffirming its wide-ranging benefits.
Ideal Form of Exercise
As a gentle, meditative physical practice that is easy on the joints, Tai Chi is an ideal form of physical and mental exercise for seniors. Sometimes described as a 'meditation in motion,' Tai Chi emphasizes slow methodical movements and can help with centering the body and finding balance. Psychologically, the graceful rhythm, practiced breathing, and repetitive movements of Tai Chi tend to have a calming effect and may help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
While Tai Chi is suitable for all age groups and body types, a routine practice is particularly beneficial for seniors. That's why more and more assisted and active senior living communities are offering regularly-scheduled Tai Chi classes for their residents. Among the physical benefits, Tai Chi is shown to:
- improve aerobic capacity
- exercise the joints
- build muscle
- increase blood flow
- increase energy--all while putting very little stress on the body
Studies show that a regular Tai Chi practice may even be helpful in regulating symptoms of Parkinson's disease, chronic heart failure, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. Also, because it creates a greater physical stability and balance, it is shown to be able to prevent falls or help individuals heal after a fall. Plus, as our residents will contest, it's a lot of fun and a wonderful way to make new friends in the community!
If you’d like to learn more about life at a Blue Harbor community, we’d love to talk. Just reach out to our True Blue team at any time. Have a wonderful day, and enjoy your balance-building exercises!
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