Originally developed for self defense, Tai Chi (pronounced, Tie-Chee) has evolved into a graceful exercise that reduces stress, improves muscle strength and improves flexibility, all through it’s serene, gentle, flowing movements. Here are some amazing benefits of Tai Chi.
Senior citizens often suffer from joint stiffness, weakness and a limited range of motion, which can all result in aches and pains. The gentle motions that make up Tai Chi can help senior citizens reverse these signs of old aging, and improve their muscle tone, improve flexibility and increase strength without straining the body. Just four weeks of Tai Chi has been known to reduce the need for pain medication.
Depression affects the elderly population quite a bit, especially those living in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Tai Chi can help combat depression in many ways. It encourages individuals to get up and move around, puts them in a group setting where they interact with others, and helps improve their physical fitness. It can also help reduce anxiety, and help them sleep better.
Reduced Discomfort Caused by Arthritis
The gentle movements associated with Tai Chi make it a low impact exercise that will not worsen arthritis symptoms. It is recommended as the preferred exercise form for those suffering from the ailment as it helps loosen joints and improves range of motion.
Promotes Better Breathing
Deep breathing is the basis of Tai Chi. When performing Tai Chi, individuals must participate in uniform breathing that focused on slow exhalations through the mouth. This helps reduce tension in the muscles, and improves lung function and rate of oxygen flow.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Tai Chi has powerful stress reduction capabilities. As it is closely linked to meditation, the positive health effects of Tai Chi are very similar to those associated with meditation. Stress and anxiety are greatly reduced, as is muscle tension. This can result in lower blood pressure, which can last for several hours.
Improves Mental Clarity
Elderly individuals often complain of higher stress levels, and the inability to concentrate. Tai Chi releases this stress, and the deep breathing can often improve mental clarity as well as it engages parts of the brain that have previously not been used.
Elderly individuals often suffer from poor balance, but as Tai Chi focuses on rotary motions that shift the body from side to side, it can help improve their balance as well. Muscles that are otherwise not used are engaged during Tai Chi, giving them stronger hips and a stronger code.
Stronger Lower Body
Tai Chi is an excellent exercise for improving lower body strength. It improves their muscle tone - especially their legs, hips and core - and increases range of motion without putting strain on the knee and ankle joints.
Raises Energy Levels
Elderly individual report feeling more energetic after performing Tai Chi. The deep breathing, and combination of slow and gentle movements, makes them more active throughout the day.
Improved sleep is one of the benefits of Tai Chi that older people will appreciate, as many of them complain of suffering from insomnia. This is believed to be a side effect of the deep breathing exercises that accompany Tai Chi. Due to all the benefits Tai Chi offers, the residents of Fort Tryon look forward to their bi-monthly class with great excitement.