As adults age, finding ways to stay fit and healthy can improve their ability to remain independent and boost their quality of life. Often, suitable exercises for seniors tend to be low-impact and more gentle on the body.
Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, meets these criteria. The slow and focused movements provide seniors plenty of health benefits including a greater sense of relaxation, better flexibility, and even pain relief from aching joints. Unlike other sports, you don’t need to purchase any special equipment and it can also be performed by those with physical limitations.
Here are a few more reasons why Tai Chi is a great exercise for seniors.
Seniors with a weaker abdominal core are more vulnerable to the possibility of slips and falls, especially in areas like the stairs or bathroom. Practicing Tai Chi can improve your balance in addition to space perception, preventing the risk of falls by up to 50%. Being more certain in your movements can also boost confidence and make you less likely to slip and fall.
For those suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia, Tai Chi is a great addition to physical therapy.
When done properly, it can help the joints retain their range of motion, whether it is in the back or the knee. It also doesn’t cause the amount of pain that high-impact exercises would and can help improve spine mobility due to its gentle movements.
Seniors who have difficulty falling asleep at night may not want to depend on medication to cure insomnia. Some types of sleep medication can also worsen the risk of falls due to increased grogginess.
Tai Chi can function as a drug-free solution that brings about greater peace of mind for those that practice it around 1.5 to 3 hours per week for between 6 to 24 weeks.
Since practicing the correct Tai Chi form is vital for beginners, joining group classes in your area or finding an experienced instructor for private lessons can help you get started.
If you want more tips on improving senior health and wellness, check out the rest of Senior Strong today!
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.