Consider Tai Chi as a Fun Exercise for Seniors
Madelyn was having a hard time getting her aging mother to engage in any physical activity. As the family caregiver, she asked her mother’s doctor for some ideas. The doctor recommended that her mother do swimming, walking, or tai chi to boost her activity levels. However, Madelyn’s mom didn’t want to fuss with wet hair or a swimsuit, and she didn’t want to walk alone. That left tai chi, but neither of them knew much about it.
When Madelyn looked around for other exercise options, she noticed an ad for a tai chi class at the community center. Although skeptical at first, Madelyn’s mother agreed to join a beginner’s class after meeting the instructor and observing for a few minutes. After her first class, Madelyn’s mother was overjoyed at how much fun tai chi was and that she was looking forward to next time.
What is Tai Chi?
Most people have seen groups of elderly people doing tai chi in a park or on television. The graceful movements have been likened to dancing, but tai chi is actually an ancient Chinese martial art that has been adapted into a highly beneficial exercise regimen. The best part about tai chi is that it is rigorous enough to provide many health benefits for all ages, yet gentle enough to work for seniors. In fact, many people start tai chi exercises in their later years and see numerous advantages to their health and wellness.
How Does Tai Chi Help Seniors?
Seniors often have a difficult time engaging in certain exercises because their muscles and joints can’t handle the moderate impact that many programs require, like aerobics or dancing. Tai chi is a low-impact exercise program that uses different movements that use every part of the body in a graceful, flowing way. Studies show that tai chi can help with blood flow, digestion, muscle strength, balance, and even stress relief. Seniors that do tai chi are more flexible, stronger and are less likely to become depressed. While tai chi is beneficial to people of all ages, it is ideal for seniors.
How Can Seniors Get Started?
Seniors can start tai chi at any age or condition as long as it is approved by their doctor. Whether they take classes at a senior center, community or civic center, or local fitness center, seniors should start out in a beginning class. With comfortable clothing and supportive running shoes, seniors have everything they need to start. If there are no local classes, there are lots of online or video options for beginning tai chi programs. Family caregivers may need to help elderly loved ones make arrangements for transportation to classes or in ordering DVDs.
After only six weeks of tai chi classes, Madelyn’s mother told her that she felt stronger and more confident when it came to getting around, and that she was having fewer headaches. Her mother also noticed that her appetite had increased and that she was sleeping more soundly at night. At the next doctor’s visit, Madelyn’s mother reported that she had never felt better and her doctor agreed that tai chi was definitely making a difference in her fitness level.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregiver services in Plainsboro, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.