These days, with rising health care costs, many people are turning to Eastern medicine to promote wellness and to ease the symptoms of various ailments. For seniors, relief from health problems such as arthritis and even dementia can be found in practices such as tai chi.  Recent studies by Harvard have shown that tai chi promotes increased flexibility and strength.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai chi is a slow and meditative exercise in which participants try to focus and guide their energy flow through a sequence of movements and postures. It hails from ancient China, where it started as a martial art. Today, many elderly people in Asian countries can be seen practicing tai chi at parks and public squares. They believe that practicing tai chi daily can increase their longevity, and there is research suggesting that their belief is true.









How is Tai Chi Practiced?

Tai chi is done mostly standing up, unlike yoga, which requires participants to sit or lie on a mat. Many people do tai chi in groups, often outdoors in a park, or in a classroom. A teacher guides the participants through the slow, low-impact movements and poses, many of which are named after animals. Deep breathing and gentle stretching are part of the exercise, which relaxes the mind.









How to Start Your Tai Chi Practice

First, always check with your doctor to make sure you’re fit to begin any exercise regimen. Once cleared, it’s recommended that you find a class or group so that you can learn the basics. Many city recreational centers have tai chi programs. Another alternative is to watch videos on the internet or buy instructional DVD’s that you can follow in your living room. Just make sure you have enough space to stretch out.

Next, make sure you wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move and stretch. Most people practice barefoot or in lightweight shoes. Make sure to have water on hand, too.

Finally, enjoy your practice and the resulting health benefits! Of course, for seniors, it’s always a great idea to have a caretaker nearby to assist you and give you encouragement. At Home Instead Senior Care, our experienced and friendly team of caretakers will do everything they can to make sure you live a healthy and fulfilling life in your own home rather than a care facility. Call us at (910) 342-0455 to learn more about our services.