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The Benefits of Tai Chi for Adults and Seniors

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tai chi on mountain range

When you think of tai chi, you might picture groups of people gathered in a park, silently performing a series of slow, rhythmic movements. And you may have wondered what exactly they’re doing and what the benefits of this strange exercise are.

 

Well, tai chi may look a little strange, but practitioners of tai chi really are on to something.

This centuries-old martial art stems from qi gong, an ancient discipline that is connected to traditional Chinese medicine. In modern times, tai chi is still practiced as a form of meditation, but it also has fantastic benefits for the body. Tai chi both helps prevent and treat a variety of health problems. One of its biggest benefits is helping improve balance and, in turn, reducing the frequency of falls. For this reason, it’s a great exercise for those that suffer from vertigo.

It’s also been found to increase muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity. Studies have also shown that tai chi can reduce pain, stress, depression, and symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Read on to learn more about the surprising benefits of tai chi.

 

Improves balance and prevents falls

As you get older, your balance deteriorates and falls are much more common. What’s worse, mature folks are much more at risk of injuries such as hip fractures. However, seniors are not the only people at risk for falling; vertigo also reduces balance and can sometimes lead to falls.

So how can tai chi help? The movements of tai chi are slow and deliberate and practitioners gently shift their weight from one leg to another in connection with motions of the upper body; these shifts engage muscles that wouldn’t normally be used in everyday activities. In this way, tai chi challenges balance.

 

Strengthens lower body

Tai chi can also help improve balance and prevent falls by strengthening the lower body and core muscles, as well as increasing practitioners’ range of motion. What’s more, it doesn’t strain the delicate joints of the knees and ankles.

 

Reduces pain

As people age, they become less active, and this can lead to joint stiffness, muscle atrophy, weakness, and a limited range of motion. Even routine tasks such as getting out of bed and taking a shower can be painful and difficult. The steady yet gentle movements of tai chi help practitioners develop better muscle tone and increase flexibility, leading to less stiffness and pain.

 

 Eases depression

Unfortunately, depression is common among many aging adults; tai chi helps in several ways. For one, it encourages practitioners to get up and move their body. It’s also often done with a group, facilitating interaction with others. Tai chi can also improve sleep and reduce stress, further alleviating depression.

 

As you can see, a regular tai chi practice can have wonderful effects on the body and mind. It’s especially beneficial for older adults and those with vertigo, as it helps with balance, lower body strength, flexibility, and pain reduction. Find a class in your area and reap the benefits of tai chi today!

 

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