Another wonderful article by Sally Writes informing you of the many benefits of Tai Chi!
I could use a little Tai Chi myself…Thanks Sally! Will give it a try too 🙂
Tai Chi: The Ideal Exercise For The Aging Body
Research has proven time and again how beneficial Tai Chi is to the aging body. As people grow older, the body becomes more susceptible to age-related conditions, such as loss of balance, mobility, and flexibility. It is for this reason that health organizations and agencies always encourage seniors to engage in physical activity – to prevent muscles from being stiff and tight. However, many seniors don’t know where to begin. What exercise should they take up? How should they do it? How many times in a week should they exercise?
If you’re someone who is eager to learn more about age-appropriate exercise routines, read on to learn more about the ideal physical activities for the elderly.
The Statistics Don’t Lie
Many would say that age is just a number, and you’re only as old as you feel. This might be true for some seniors who are still physically active and regularly engage in a high-quality workout program that keeps them looking a decade younger. However, for most seniors who had lived a sedentary lifestyle for years, it isn’t that easy to start a fitness routine to get their body back on track.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “2.8 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.” Also, there are 300,000 seniors hospitalized every year because of a hip fracture or head injury resulting from the fall. The facts don’t lie, and the more that seniors don’t engage in physical activity, the higher their risk of falling or suffering from similar injuries.
Tai Chi is Medication in Motion
Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial art. But nowadays, Tai Chi has become the ideal exercise for the older generation. Many describe it as moving meditation because you move and relax at the same time.
Tai Chi is all about slow, fluid moments that don’t put too much stress on the aging joints and muscles. It is a low-impact exercise, but one that continues to complete a series of continuous motions. Breathing deeply is also part of this exercise, allowing seniors to meditate and be in tune with their bodies. Movements are mostly circular, always free-moving and never forced. As a result, the aging muscles are moving, but not tensed nor pressured. Additionally, being part of a group is also very helpful for seniors as they get to socialize with people their age.
In the U.S. alone, there were 3.71 million adults who practiced Tai Chi in 2016 – the highest number recorded since 2008. The number continues to rise as more people learn about its benefits and more medical professionals recommend it due to the unquestionable results of studies and research. Tai Chi is great for seniors who suffer from chronic pain, stress, and loss of balance.
It’s More Emotional than Physical
A study was made comprising 256 physically inactive seniors aged 70 to 92. The subjects were divided into two groups; the first group practiced three times a week Tai Chi and the other group did stretching. The results showed that those in the Tai Chi group had 55% less risk of multiple falls than those in the stretching control group. Furthermore, those in the Tai Chi group showed significant improvement in balance, physical performance, and overcoming fear or falling.
More than just the physical aspect of Tai Chi, the biggest benefit is actually the emotional aspect of it – how seniors can overcome the fear of falling and gain/regain confidence in their own body’s capabilities. Medical professionals say that the fear of falling is actually the predictor of falls. If the person isn’t confident with his movements, the more imbalanced the person will be. Tai Chi will help in removing that fear and giving seniors the confidence to plant their feet on the ground firmly as well as give them a better sense of movement and space.
Getting healthy doesn’t always mean you have to sweat it out. When your body is aging, you have to hear what your body is saying. This doesn’t mean you have to be complacent; you just have to know right exercise for you. There’s no better time to try Tai Chi than now.