Have you ever watched a movie and seen scores of people, young and old, in an outdoor setting practicing what looks like slow-motion martial arts? If so, you’ve probably seen tai chi. Tai chi is an ancient practice that comes from China, and it is a form of martial arts. The practice combines slow, deliberate movement with breathing exercises and meditation. It is a form of exercise that is not designed to increase the heart rate or burn calories, but instead it seeks to help a person develop better balance, circulation, and alignment. Tai chi is considered an excellent form of physical activity for seniors because it is safe for people of all ages. It is low intensity and does not place excess stress on the joints. If your aging parent is looking for a way to become more physically active, there are many reasons they should consider taking a tai chi class. Here are just five of them.
1. Tai Chi Targets All Areas of the Body.
Tai chi involves all parts of the body. The body’s core is engaged as the person flows from one movement to the next. The arms are in motion and the legs are in constant use since the movements are done in a standing position. There are even movements that target the back and glutes.
2. Even People with Health Conditions Can Do Tai Chi.
Of course, it’s always a good idea for your parent to check with their doctor before they begin any new form of exercise, but tai chi is generally considered safe. People of nearly any physical condition can take up the practice, even those with arthritis. In fact, people in wheelchairs can do tai chi, too! They simply do them sitting down.
3. Improves Some Health Conditions.
Studies have shown that doing tai chi can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Both of these things are factors for heart disease, so improving them lessens your parent’s risk for heart disease.
4. Tai Chi Improves Balance.
Studies indicate that people who practice tai chi are at a lower risk for falls. Tai chi improves balance by strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility. In addition, it gives a person a better sense of spatial awareness and can reduce a person’s fear of falling.
5. Increases Muscle Strength.
Tai chi makes the muscles in both the upper body and the lower body stronger. Experts say that doing tai chi regularly is comparable to walking briskly or doing resistance training.
If your parent is interested in trying tai chi, but no longer drives, an elderly care provider can drive them to a class. Or, if your parent would like to try tai chi at home using a DVD or online video, an elderly care provider can sit by to ensure their safety and to provide help if they need it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Apex, NC or the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at HomeChoice Home Care Services. Call today (919) 847-5622