Maintaining an exercise routine is crucial for strength and flexibility but how often do you come across a form of exercise that also promotes healthy cognition? Tai Chi can help you achieve both your physical and mental goals.
A series of motions performed slowly with a focus on deep breathing, Tai Chi is a form of self-paced stretching that promotes steady and controlled movement. Each posture flows into the next without pause.
At Eskaton, we encourage residents to take control of their health by trying out different exercise programs to find the ones that fit best with their lifestyle and goals. Tai Chi is one that can benefit many different senior adults, regardless of age and movement restrictions.
What is Tai Chi?
Often described as one of the most graceful forms of exercise – or “meditation in motion” – Tai Chi can help older adults reduce the risk of falling while helping achieve a sense of serenity and calm.
There are many different styles to choose from and the low impact of the exercises make Tai Chi perfect for many older adults. It is considered safe for almost all fitness abilities, including those individuals not accustomed to high energy workouts.
Because it doesn’t require special equipment, this inexpensive fitness option can be done anywhere, whether alone or in a class with others. There are several movements included when practicing Tai Chi, but the most important thing to remember is to focus on the fluidity instead of the individual motions.
The Benefits of Tai Chi for older adults
This mind-body exercise provides a great foundation for older adults to incorporate into their wellness routine. The many advantages for physical, cognitive and emotional health include:
- Better balance
- Increased flexibility
- Enhanced immunity
- Improved cognition
- Reduced stress
- Decreased anxiety
- Improved mood
- Improved aerobic capacity
- Increased energy and stamina
- Improved muscle strength
Additional research is still needed but mounting evidence suggests that practicing tai chi for older adults might also provide the following overall health benefits:
- Enhanced quality of sleep
- Help with lowering blood pressure
- Improvement of congestive heart failure symptoms
- Improved overall well-being
Source: Mayo Clinic
Consider these positive results
If you choose to add Tai Chi to your exercise program, you can soon begin to experience the following benefits:
1. An Increase in Body Awareness
Tai Chi encourages slow and deliberate movements accompanied by deep breathing. Older adults find these motions help focus on their bodies’ movements and sensations, as well as learn how to be present in each moment.
2. Improved cognition
Though further research is needed, a correlation has been found between the practice of Tai Chi and improvements in cognition in those previously experiencing cognitive impairment.
3. Reduced risk and fear of falling
You are much less likely to fall when you have improved balance, strength and flexibility. Practicing Tai Chi can improve your mobility and motor function. The more you practice the motions of Tai Chi, the more you can protect yourself against the risk of falling.
4. Easing of arthritis pain
Older adults suffering from arthritis or other joint issues have reported ease in symptoms when they began to practice Tai Chi.
Getting started with Tai Chi
If you’re interested in adding Tai Chi to your exercise routine, use the following tips to help you get started:
1. Find an instructor
Rather than teaching yourself, most Tai Chi practitioners recommend using the guidance of an instructor when starting out. You will be able to see each move being demonstrated and can ask for clarification if needed.
2. Observe a class before beginning
If you are hesitant about diving right in, ask an instructor if it would be possible to observe their class before deciding if you want to participate. This will allow you to get a better of idea of what the class will entail and can even speak to a few class members about their experiences.
3. Gather information and watch videos
Although it’s not recommended to go it alone when learning Tai Chi, the more information you have the better prepared you will be. All you need is your laptop or smartphone and you’ll soon discover many online videos that provide a basic overview of this ancient exercise practice.
Life at Eskaton Communities
We believe in the magic and purpose within each of our residents and see each day as an opportunity to enhance their lives. In fact, Eskaton is defined as “the dawning of a new day.” We’ve been proudly serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years and look forward to many more.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful and passionate living.
We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to witness the magic yourself and learn about some of the amenities we offer, including:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.