280423 An introduction to Tai-Chi put into agility, balance, and coordination with osteoporosis
Tai Chi is an ancient art that uses a series of gentle continuous movements that place an emphasis on joint leverage based on coordination and relaxation instead of muscular tension. Practitioners of the art have discovered increased balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular benefits. The elderly have reduced their risk of falling after learning and applying Tai Chi training practices.
Scientific research into Tai Chi has indicated reduced anxiety and depression, improved balance and coordination which helps to reduce falls in those prone to falling, and improved sleep patterns. The time spent sleeping was found to be longer and greater alertness was reported during the following day.
Practicing Tai Chi was shown to slow bone loss in post-menopausal women an especially important issue for those with osteopenia or osteoporosis. It also reduced high blood pressure and improved cardiovascular fitness along with providing relief from chronic pain. All of these healthy benefits made for better daily living functioning.
There are different styles of Tai Chi, some are more aggressive than others and involve faster-paced movements. Those most commonly practiced utilize gentle slower motions that are suitable for everyone.
As with anything in life, there are positives and negatives in the practice of Tai Chi. The pros seem to outweigh the cons though in these respects:
- The movements are self-paced and non-competitive, which to a competitive person may be a negative attribute.
- The physical space requirements are negligible as well as the attire. You don’t need a lot of space or fancy gear to take part in Tai Chi. It’s easy to do; you can do it anyplace and anytime either alone or with others. Once you become accustomed to the activity and more proficient in the art then you can add in your own to make it even more individualized and specific to your needs.
The negatives are almost non-existent but do include the usual warnings of possible soreness if the first few sessions are overdone beyond your current physical fitness levels.
Beginning a new activity starts with learning how to do it correctly. In the case of Tai Chi, this will mean seeking out a competent instructor who will guide you in the technical aspects of posture and movement. Pay strict attention to your breathing and body position throughout the training session. Develop the ability to perform the motions effortlessly and without conscious thought. Doing so helps avert muscle strains and damaged joints.
Tai Chi classes are taught throughout the world. In the United States contact your local senior center, the YWCA, or YMCA or check with the gyms in your area. You can even look it up on the internet; there are scores of sites listed.