The Chinese have long been known for their unique way of living, which has produced some of the healthiest yet oldest individuals on the planet. It is a way of life that combines both body and mind. And at the heart of it lies tai chi, an ancient martial art that has been practiced for centuries for both its defense purposes as well as its health benefits.
“Deeply rooted in Chinese meditation, medicine, and martial arts, tai chi (pronounced ”tie chee”) combines mental concentration with slow, controlled movements to focus the mind, challenge the body, and improve the flow of what the Chinese call ”qi” (also spelled ”chi”) — the life energy thought to sustain health and quiet the mind,” WebMD explained. “Found in many community centers, health clubs, and studios in the United States, tai chi is lauded for its gentleness and accessibility.”
It is also known for increasing balance. Falls, which are a leading cause of injuries for seniors, can be avoided by focusing on mobility and overall body strength. Tai chi improves balance through slow gentle movements such as shifting weight from one leg to the other.
“A 2001 study conducted by the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, reported that seniors who took tai chi classes for an hour twice a week reported having an easier time with activities like walking, climbing, bending, lifting, eating, and dressing than their peers who did not participate in the classes,” WebMD reported.
And it is for these reasons that we here at Freedom Home Care advocate its practice for all walks of life – especially those in their twilight years. To find out how to incorporate tai chi into an elderly loved one’s daily routine, talk to one of our caregivers, who can suggest online videos or classes in the Chicago area.