Who wouldn’t at least try an activity that is good for the body, mind and soul, that can be completed in as little as 10 to 20 minutes a day, without breaking a sweat, or costing a single cent…?
Who Can Benefit From Tai Chi?
With more than 200 million people across the world practicing this ancient art, Tai Chi’s reputation precedes itself.
There are numerous benefits of practicing Tai Chi for every age, however research has uncovered significant gains in particular to seniors and the elderly. Research now infers that the way in which the body and mind has been cared for and cultivated over a lifetime would appear to have a direct correlation to the ageing process. Therefore the belief is, with consistent, appropriate exercise, diet and relaxation it is possible to slow the ageing process.
What Is Tai Chi?
It is believed that Tai Chi was developed between 700 and 1500 years ago as a Chinese Martial Art working on the energetic body as a whole. Tai Chi is often explained as martial arts in slow motion and likened to a beautiful flowing dance. It is amazing and relaxing to watch and participate in.
Tai Chi is designed to relax your body and clear your mind. As a low-impact exercise, you are completing a physical workout without putting undue pressure on your body, joints and muscles. Tai Chi works on balance, posture and full range of gentle movement. Perfect for those with limited mobility. Not only does the body receive a full workout, but so does the mind. Tai Chi is renowned for its’ relaxation techniques including controlling breath, mindfulness, focus, mind-body connection and enhancing concentration.
Some of the benefits include:
• Improve fitness
• Physical and mental realignment
• Enhanced energy
• Suggested increase in balance and stability – helps prevent falls by approximately 43%
• Alleviates effects of arthritis
• Reduces stress
• Stronger muscles
• Helpful with low bone density, breast cancer, heart disease, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis
• Relieves tension headaches
• Reduces blood pressure
• Slows deterioration of motor functions
• Assists with sleep
• Enhances mental concentration
• Reduces inflammation
• Weight loss and reduction in food cravings
• Improvements to mood and assistance with depression and anxiety
• Research suggests may be useful in treating fibromyalgia
• Helps with type 2 diabetes through lowering glucose levels and improving immune response
How Do I Start Tai Chi?
While Tai Chi can be practiced on your own, in the privacy of your home, it can be most beneficial to participate in a class.
At Serene, a group class is taken several mornings a week by Sharon, our qualified Tai Chi instructor. A class environment makes keeping a consistent routine easy, and holds you accountable. Residents are more motivated to attend and less worried about performing any of the moves in case of fall or injury.
While a personal journey, Tai Chi in a group can be an enlightening experience and chance to make some new likeminded friends before or after the session.
It’s Never Too Late To Start Tai Chi
Keep in mind that more than 50% of Tai Chi practitioners start learning after the age of 50. You don’t need to know any of the moves to begin with. A class allows you to closely follow the instructor and learn new postures and routines over time, at your own pace. Remember, it is a journey, not a race. So take it easy and enjoy the experience!
In closing, here are some rules to live by from the famous Chinese herbalist and Taoist, Lee Chin-Yen:
• Never hurry through life. Always keep a quiet heart (Mind)
• Avoid extreme outbursts of emotions – it drains energy from the body and disrupts the function of our organs
• Practice daily breathing (Qi Gong) and exercises (Tai Chi)
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