Even if we can’t do all the physical activities we used to do, Tai Chi offers a gentler option for moving, stretching and strengthening the body. Tai Chi engages the entire body with gentle, flowing movements which increase circulation of both the blood and lymph, helping to clear the waste products of our metabolism from the body. It also stimulates the production of synovial fluid in the joints, which can ease joint pain. The old phrase “use it or lose it” is really true.
Tai Chi improves muscular strength, balance and postural control. Older adults who practice Tai Chi are half as likely to fall as people of similar age who do not exercise. This is because Tai Chi practice involves weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing stances, correct body alignment and posture and multiple coordinated movements done in a continuous, circular and flowing manner. When we begin the form, we bend our knees and remain in that bent-knee posture for the duration of the practice. This stance requires that the leg and hip muscles work harder, building strength in the lower body. Increased lower body strength enhances balance.
The circular nature of the movements also improves balance. We turn at the waist with our arms extended at the same time we step using the bent-knee stepping mentioned above. This requires the mind to concentrate on keeping the body upright and stable while moving in multiple directions at the same time.
Tai Chi helps reduce tension and pain. Most people carry tension in their bodies to some extent without even being aware of it. Tension causes pain. Working at the computer is particularly hard on the upper shoulders and neck. The deep relaxed breathing, slow, gentle movements and meditative nature of Tai Chi all work together to help us let go of tension and let go of pain.
Weekly classes are held at the SaddleBrooke One Fitness Center.
Beginning class – Tuesday 9:05-10:05 a.m.
Intermediate class – Saturday 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Advanced class – Saturday 11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.
For information please call Carol Emerson at 520-373-3778 or Ken Emerson at 520-784-1475.