The Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors

Information taken in part from www.Insideeldercare.com and www.livestrong.com and www.arthritis.org

The benefits of Tai Chi for seniors are incredible. Tai Chi is an ancient discipline of slow, fluid like movements. This excellent art is instrumental in relaxing the full body and mind with a variety of health benefits. Due to the subtle movement techniques of the art, Tai Chi can benefit health seekers and provide an excellent source of health improvement for seniors.(Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/98434-benefits-tai-chi-seniors/#ixzz1xVBVU8Vw)
For the elderly, this is a great exercise because it has so much emphasis on balance and muscle control, which is often lost in old age. If you are looking for a low-impact, relaxing form of exercise that only requires about 20 minutes a day and rewards your efforts, Tai Chi is for you.
The Lexington Senior Center and many other senior care facilities and community centers are offering Tai Chi classes (some free of charge) not only because of the extensive health benefits, but also because it does not require any equipment or furniture. Many seniors find it an easy activity and a peaceful environment in which to meet other seniors with common interests.
Find a Tai Chi class in your area or contact your local Arthritis Foundation office by calling 800-283-7800.
Benefit of Ease
Senior citizens become less active as maturity sets in. Muscles and tendons become less supple with lack of movement, and supporting biological organ function begins to slow down from decreased oxygen input as well as slower circulation.
Tai chi requires little intensity of movement, creating more fluid contractions in the muscles and making it optimal for individuals of mature age. The flowing motion techniques used in Tai Chi make it easier for seniors to maintain balanced health.
Biological Benefits
These benefits have been claimed by Eastern Medicine for some time now, but are beginning to undergo Western Medicine’s verification as well. So far, Western Medicine is willing to attribute the following Tai Chi claims as valid:
• Increased balance control;
• Increased flexibility;
• Increased cardiovascular fitness;
• lower LDLs by 20-26mg;
• Better recovery for people who have endured stroke, heart failure and heart attacks;
• Benefits for those suffering from M.S., Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s;
• A recent study indicates that regular practice of Tai Chi improves the body’s immune function, and boosts efficacy of flu and other vaccines; and
• Tai Chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions.
Modern Tai Chi organizations also tout that its forms create a flow of energy through the body that nourishes and empowers the body’s systems, which has shown to benefit people suffering from allergies, asthma, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer's, arthritis, chronic pain, diabetes, liver disease and migraines.
Mental Benefits
• Requires mind and body integration through mental imagery
• Accumulates energy by releasing endorphins rather than depleting it
• Enhances mental capacity and concentration
Energy
Chi is a term used in Chinese culture as meaning "life force," and tai means "ultimate." The continued practice of tai chi cultivates the life force within and is often prescribed by Western medicine professionals in modern-day society to build up depleted life force for degenerative illnesses.
Senior citizens who experience degenerative conditions can benefit greatly by incorporating tai chi into a daily exercise regime to invigorate and build the energy levels in the body, ultimately boosting the immune system and promoting clear thought processes and a healthier body.
Suggestions
Although some benefit can be experienced with minimal tai chi practice, experts expresses the importance of achieving the highest benefit by building up tai chi practice past 10 minutes daily.

Caution
Finding a qualified instructor will help to ensure you have a good experience with Tai Chi. These instructors can assist in modifying the pose to accommodate for any limitation you may have.

Leading Questions
What if a person uses a wheelchair or cannot stand for long periods of time?
What should a person where to a Tai Chi Class?
Will a participant sweat or raise their heart rate?
Tell us a success story from one of your participants.


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