Physical exercise is always a great way for seniors to stay healthy and fit. But not everyone is suited for the more strenuous routines. Luckily, there are other options they can get into. One of these is tai chi. Home health care provider Amavi guides you in exploring this martial art and getting more from it in old age.
Understanding How Tai Chi Works
For the uninitiated, tai chi is a form of martial arts and exercise routine characterized by slow movements. The practice originated in China during the 12th century AD. While tai chi was initially for self-defense like other martial arts, tai chi eventually developed into a health and wellness practice.
While popular in its home country, tai chi would take another 900 years before it became known globally. In the 1950s, a group of tai chi masters came together to create a standardized version of the art. That distilled the different versions together into a more beginner-friendly format. Since then, many people from around the globe have become practitioners.
The Benefits Of Taichi
While tai chi was initially seen as an alternative therapy, new studies have confirmed that it offers many benefits. These benefits range from the physical to the mental and emotional. Because of these, ta chi has become a favorite of both young and old practitioners.
Improved Body Balance
The first main benefit that you can gain from tai chi is that it helps you improve your balance and flexibility. Doing the various slow movements help you better control your balance and posture. That is especially critical for older people, as it helps reduce the risk of falls.
Tai chi can also help with the pain you experience from various conditions. These include knee osteoarthritis, back pains, and fibromyalgia. All of these are common conditions that many seniors suffer from.
Helping Deal With Chronic Diseases
Practicing tai chi can also help you cope with, and even lessen, the symptoms of various chronic illnesses. Several studies have shown that it can help regulate circulation and lower blood pressure. That helps reduce the risk of various heart diseases.
Meanwhile, another study has shown that practicing it can help stroke patients recover faster. That works best when combined with other meditative practices like storytelling. The calming effect of these practices also normalizes your heart rate and lessens the risk of complications.
Improving Your Mental Health
By performing the various movements in tai chi, you learn to focus your mind. This helps you clear your thoughts of other things and is an effective stress reliever. Additionally, it is a great way to improve your mood.
Going further, the mental training tai chi provides also helps you combat mental illnesses. Studies show that the practice can be effective in combating the effects of Alzheimer’s. It also works well for improving your cognition.
The Types Of Tai Chi Seniors Can Explore
As mentioned, there are multiple schools of tai chi av available. However, seniors should be careful when deciding which style to go with. Specific styles might be better for certain age groups or overall health status. Here are the best ones that older people like you can get into.
This one is the oldest style of tai chi in practice today. As such, it is geared more towards the original conception of the e practice as a martial art. Here, you will be doing a lot of kicks and aggressive movements. It is a good option for older people who want a more invigorating exercise.
The yang style is one of the most popular styles practiced by both young and old. It consists of gentle, flowing movements. That makes it well-suited for seniors who want low-impact exercise.
One of the newest tai chi styles gaining popularity among practitioners. Unlike more traditional styles that use low stances, it goes with high ones. It also uses more graceful movements. There is even a version designed specifically for people with arthritis.
The Wu style is very similar to the Yang style. However, the main difference between the two is that the former uses smaller and less dramatic movements. That makes it a great introductory style for new students.
Simple Tai Chi Exercises
What is great about getting into tai chi is that there are a lot of classes available in most major cities. You can also learn in the comforts of your home through online. However, if you are not still inclined to join a full class, here are some exercises you can do on your own.
While tai chi is low-impact, you should still perform the necessary warmups. These two simple exercises will work best for that purpose.
Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip distance. Slightly bend your knees and position your arms on the side or onto a chair for support. Shift your weight such that one leg supports 70% of it. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat three times.
Start by putting your hands on your hips. Inhale and feel your pine growing. As you exhale, twist your torso. Remember to do it from the upper body and not the hips. Repeat the twist on the other side, letting your breathing guide how fast you move. Do this five times for both sides.
Energy To The Sky
This exercise is good for improving your digestion. It can also help you strengthen your back and improve respiration.
- Stand in a neutral pose similar to the warmups. Position your feet hip-wide and let your hands rest on your side.
- Bring your hands to your front, with your palms facing down and your fingertips facing each other. Make sure your forearms are straight.
- Look at your hands and breathe in gently as you do so. Now, gradually stretch out your hands straight in front of you. From there, move them up over your head.
- Bring your arms down as you exhale.
- Repeat five times.
Drawing The Bow
The exercise stimulates your heart and circulation by opening your chest and lungs. Additionally, it helps you build the strength of your arms, chest, shoulders, and legs.
- Start in the same stance as above. Step out with your right foot slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Gently twist your torso to the right and look up to that side.
- Make your hands into loose fists. Breathe gently as you lift your arms to the right of your body. Both arms should be at chest level, with your right arm extending further.
- As you exhale, pull your left elbow back. Point your left index finger and thumb towards the sky and bend your knees into a squat for as low as you can.
- Look beyond the backward L you have created with your arms and inhale. Exhale as you bring your arms down and straighten your legs back to the neutral position.
- Repeat the movement at least three times for each side.
Get The Help Of The Best Home Health Care Provider
While tai chi is a relatively easy exercise form, seniors might still need some assistance when performing it. Amavi’s home health care team is ready to help you in this fun routine. We can connect you with some of the best tai chi trainers around. And our caregivers would be on watch as you do your routines. Contact us today and let that energy flow into your body.