Stay active and improve your health with Tai Chi

Carol Emerson

Many of us find that while we used to run, do yoga and play sports, our bodies just can’t take that kind of physical stress anymore. Tai Chi provides a great alternative. Although it is slow and gentle and doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning.

“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in Tai Chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.” Studies show that it is helpful for many ailments including arthritis, low bone density, heart disease, Parkinson’s, stroke recovery and depression. It also builds mental concentration and helps with memory.

Tai Chi has always been a key component of Chinese health and fitness practices. With its gentle movements and meditative aspects, it is a perfect way to open the mind and body to a new, healthful, balanced way of being. In China people practice together in the parks. They don’t worry about knowing all the moves; they just come to enjoy each other’s company and relax while moving and flowing through the beautiful Tai Chi form. So don’t be too concerned with memorizing everything all at once—that will come in time. Just enjoy the practice.

Students learn the Yang style long form of Tai Chi. In the Beginning Class students learn the first section of the form – a short 17 move sequence. Intermediate students work on the second section of the form. Advanced students practice the entire 108 moves and learn other Kung Fu forms and energy exercises.

Beginning Classes

Thursday, 11:00 to 11:50 a.m., MountainView Fitness Center

Friday, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., HOA1 Fitness Center

Intermediate Class

Saturday, noon to 1:00 p.m., HOA1 Fitness Center

Advanced Class

Saturday, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., HOA1 Fitness Center

Fees: $11 per class or purchase six tickets for $54

For more information, or to register, please call Carol or Ken at 825-9206. Private lessons with Ken or Carol are available by appointment for $15 per half hour session.

Ken and Carol Emerson are certified black belt instructors and have been teaching Tai Chi class in SaddleBrooke for nine years. Ken is also a former U.S. Secret Service agent with training in Karate and Jujitsu as well as Tai Chi and other internal martial arts.