Getting older comes with its aches, pains, and physical strains – it is an unfortunate fact of life. If you want to stay physically fit and healthy, it is essential to keep active as you get older. And that takes a bit of time and effort.
If you are a senior looking for a good way to work out, or even if you are looking for a good fitness regime for an elderly loved one, you might wonder if Tai Chi is a viable option. And I am glad to say that it most certainly is! Staying fit, healthy, and active as you get older might seem to be more effort than it is worth, but I have found that many seniors find Tai Chi to be most enjoyable and well worth every second spent practicing it.
While researching just how good Tai Chi is for seniors, I came across a number of reasons. Below are 20 of the many reasons why all seniors should be doing Tai Chi, starting now.
These are 20 reasons why seniors should practice Tai Chi.
1. Tai Chi involves slow and gentle movements.
This makes it ideal for those suffering physical strength or difficulties with range of motion.
2. Tai Chi provides a gentle and gradual way to build muscle and burn calories.
While it can be used to control weight, it is important to pair it with a low-calorie diet as it is certainly not a high-energy or aerobic form of exercise.
3. A Tai Chi session for the elderly can account for the equivalent of a 30-minute brisk walk.
Many elderly people cannot go for a brisk 30-minute walk on a regular basis. This might be due to strength problems or simply because they cannot walk that far for that period of time. In those situations, Tai Chi can be a viable option.
4. Tai Chi is designed to improve bone strength, joint stability, and muscle density.
All of this does wonders for balance. As the elderly are prone to falling, it is good to participate in an exercise that helps with developing strength, stability, and balance. The reason why Tai Chi is so helpful with balance is that it provides a workout for all major muscle groups – in fact, it is a full body workout. It is designed to target range of motion, reflex, flexibility, and strength. All the same things required for good balance.
5. Tai Chi can improve one’s mental health.
Seniors often worry about their mental health as they grow older. Just as it is important to stay physically fit, it is vital to stay mentally fit too. This can be hard for seniors as responsibilities decrease and activities minimize with age. Tai Chi requires focus, attention, and concentration. As such, it does wonders for the mind and mental health too.
6. According to the Harvard health website, Tai Chi is known to reduce fall incidents in seniors by 45% to 50%.
Studies have shown this form of exercise to be particularly useful in helping with balance issues in Parkinson’s sufferers.
7. Tai Chi can be started at any age.
There is no limit to when you can begin learning the art and taking classes. This means that you can attend a beginner’s class or even receive one-on-one training at any age. It is never too late to start learning and practicing Tai Chi.
8. Tai Chi improves flexibility.
As people get older, they tend to get stiffer and far less flexible. This can result in aches, pains, and problems with reaching, stretching, bending, getting up, and sitting down. With regular Tai Chi practice, the muscles will become more flexible, and the participant will be able to move with greater ease. This, of course, takes time and consistent practice.
9. Exercises, such as Tai Chi, improve circulation.
As one gets older, circulation becomes problematic and can lead to discomfort. By practicing Tai Chi daily for 20 minutes or attending bi-weekly 1-hour classes, you can improve circulation a great deal. The trick when getting older is to keep moving, even if you are moving slowly.
10. Tai Chi has emotional benefits for seniors, especially those who have fallen.
Most seniors who have fallen thereafter suffer an emotional fear of falling. This can be quite emotionally and psychologically crippling. This fear alone can make someone unsteady on their feet and more prone to falling. The fear of falling itself can actually cause a person to fall.
The slow movements and concentration involved in Tai Chi paired with the muscle building advantages means that seniors can become more confident of their movements and generally sturdier on their feet.
11. Tai Chi promotes arterial flexibility.
Regular weight and strength training exercises are said to potentially cause arteries to stiffen, whereas Tai Chi promotes arterial flexibility. This is particularly important as one becomes older, as cardiovascular health is impacted by the flexibility of arteries. If the arteries are not flexible, they could lead to circulation and heart problems.
12. Tai Chi provides elderly people with the opportunity to socialize.
Seniors often struggle with fewer social opportunities. Some join clubs while others find themselves bored or wiling away the hours. Joining a Tai Chi class for seniors provides elderly people with the opportunity to socialize with people of their own age and of other ages. It adds interest to life – somewhere to be – something to do.
13. Tai Chi can improve one’s sense of overall well-being.
It is no secret that physical exercise can create an overall feeling of well-being. As one gets older and exercise reduces, it can leave a person feeling lethargic, tired, bored, and even depressed. Getting regularly involved in Tai Chi can help to promote a much-needed sense of well-being.
14. Tai Chi is the anytime, anywhere exercise.
It will not cost anything to practice Tai Chi alone as no equipment is required, and it can be done indoors, outdoors, alone, or as a group. This means that Tai Chi is a convenient exercise for seniors.
15. Senior will find, relatively, easy to learn and keep up with Tai Chi.
Seniors often worry that they will not be able to keep up with fast-paced exercise classes. Tai Chi is so gentle and slow-moving that seniors should be able to learn and keep up with relative ease.
16. Studies prove that Tai Chi helps boost the body’s immune system.
As seniors often tend to struggle with illnesses and disease, a healthy immune system is essential.
17. Tai Chi can improve one’s energy levels.
Feeling lazy, lackluster, and lethargic is common for seniors who are getting older. This is a part of life, but it does not have to rule your life. By participating in regular exercise, you can improve your energy levels and also boost your mood.
18. Tai Chi is known to help the body reduce inflammation.
Therefore, it can be of great benefit to seniors who suffer arthritis and other joint aches and pains. Tai Chi helps reduce chronic pain – that is not easily disputed.
19. There are many different versions of Tai Chi, one of which can be done while seated.
This is particularly useful for seniors who have disabilities or have a very limited range of motion. Seated Tai Chi is regularly attended and practiced by seniors across the globe. There are even versions of Tai Chi that have been adapted to cater to people who are confined to their beds or a wheelchair.
20. Tai Chi can promote better respiratory health.
Some seniors may suffer respiratory problems as they get older. Because Tai Chi requires practicing deep, steady breathing, it can stimulate better respiratory health and reduce breathing problems exponentially.
Attending Tai Chi Classes for Seniors
Senior Tai Chi classes (or classes for over 50s) are similar to traditional classes. While you should attend these classes regularly for overall health and well-being, it is also important to ensure that you have a nutritious diet too.
Your First Tai Chi Class
Before you book a Tai Chi class, it is important to make inquiries about training for seniors. If you have any physical issues or disabilities, it is also important to mention that before arriving for a class. This is to ensure that the movements can be adapted to suit you.
When you attend your first Tai Chi class, it may seem a little daunting. There will be movements and motions you have never done before, and that can feel foreign. It is important to commit yourself to it for a while and give it a real chance. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
As you can see, there