When seniors want to stay active and keep fit but are limited by what types of exercises they can do, they may want to take a closer look at tai chi. This ancient Chinese martial arts program not only provides an excellent workout, it can be fun, too. Seniors can take classes at their local community or senior centers or sign up at the local fitness studio, with family members or home care aides providing transportation. Either way, tai chi is an age-appropriate activity that boosts physical health and promotes mental well-being.
Physical Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors
Tai chi involves graceful movements or forms that flow into one another, requiring constant movement. Because there is no high impact activity or fast, jerking motions, tai chi is ideal for those that require a slower pace of exercise, like seniors. Physical benefits of tai chi include loosened joints, stronger muscles, improved cardiovascular health, better breathing, easier balance and a strengthened core.
Experts recommend that seniors get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, at least five days per week. By incorporating tai chi into an aging loved one’s elder care plan, they will easily meet this requirement. Any exercise will help strengthen seniors and reduce the risk of illness and disease, so those with limited options should seriously consider getting involved with tai chi.
Mental Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors
Many practitioners find that the mental benefits of tai chi are equally as impactful and the physical health benefits. That’s because tai chi requires focused breathing techniques and mindfulness about the body’s movements. These are meditative in nature and tai chi requires participants to concentrate on their bodies and their breathing for maximum impact. Studies show that tai chi can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and even help combat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Because seniors are more likely to suffer from things like loneliness, isolation, grief and frustration, tai chi can be an excellent way to invite emotional balance.
Social Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors
While seniors of all abilities benefit from social interaction, tai chi is especially good for those that don’t get around as often as they would like. Interacting with classmates is always fun, and setting and achieving goals together increases self-esteem. Seniors that attend tai chi classes have something to look forward to several times per week, even if they rely on family members or home care aides to drive them. Of course, their increased physical fitness means they are more likely to be able to participate in other social activities as well.
It can be frustrating for seniors to grow increasingly isolated from the activities and events they used to love. Coupled with a decrease in physical ability and the physical limitations that age can bring, many seniors may be tempted to give up and just stay sedentary and lonely. Tai chi can be an excellent new activity where seniors can enjoy the physical, mental and social benefits that it brings.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home care in Waterbury, CT, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.
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