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The Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors

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Now that we are several weeks into 2015, how many New Year’s resolutions have you kept? If you had lofty ideas of extreme weight loss, or a high-powered exercise program, you are probably discouraged by now and may have even abandoned whatever goals you were striving for. 

The good news is that if you or a senior member of your family is having a difficult time sticking to a fitness regimen, you might want to give some consideration to the centuries-old Chinese practice of Tai Chi. This low impact method of exercise doesn’t require any special equipment, it can be done indoors, in a group or solo. Many movements can even be performed in a chair.

A number of health experts recommend Tai Chi for seniors because it is slow and controlled. Many studies have concluded that Tai Chi can improve arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, reduce stress and improve overall well being.  And who wouldn’t want that? 

Because of its slow motion, many people may think Tai Chi isn’t exercise. But in actuality, Tai Chi exercises the mind and body and resembles a beautifully choreographed dance that almost everyone can do.

According to the website WebMD, in addition to the benefits mentioned above, Tai Chi practice can also improve strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Some experts even believe regular practice can improve heart function and decrease blood pressure.

The website,  Beginners Tai Chi (www.beginnerstaichi.com) nicknames Tai Chi the longevity exercise because for many seniors it’s never too late to learn it and for numerous people it helps them to feel steady on their feet and it has improved hand-eye coordination as well. 

Tai Chi is beneficial for everyone as it teaches its practitioners how to relax and breathe more deeply, which is a skill all ages should master. Even those people who have not made exercise a part of their everyday routine for many years can benefit from Tai Chi as long as they remember to start slow and only do what is comfortable to their body. 

Finally, Tai Chi is perfect for those seniors who need a bit of structure to their lives, especially for those who might be bored or isolated. It’s a great way to greet the day!

By Susan Belknap, Freelance Writer