Seniors participating in tai chi

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Why Tai Chi for Seniors Is Good for Self-Care

What Is Self Care and Why is it Important?

You may have heard the term “self-care,” but what does it mean in practice? Quite simply, it means engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress to take care of your mind, body and soul. And while self-care is important at any age, it’s not uncommon for older adults to feel deserted and left behind, leading to a solitary attitude. That’s why self-care for seniors is so vital. It’s also why many aging adults are choosing to move to an independent living community in Richmond like Lakewood in Richmond’s West End. This kind of retirement community in Richmond offers a variety of amenities and services and wellness programs for seniors, which take care of the whole-person- mind, body and spirit. 

What is Tai Chi for Seniors

If you’re looking for a way to take care of yourself that offers a variety of health benefits, consider the ancient Chinese martial art of tai chi. 

Although it was initially developed as a martial art, tai chi is commonly practiced as a form of “moving meditation.” While the repetitive moves of tai chi can be done either fast or slow, when first starting out, slow gentle movements are best. You’ll find that each move is focused on muscle control, stability, balance and flexibility. Concentrating on each movement allows your mind to relax and release stress. Plus, after a session, you may discover you feel calmer and even have more energy. 

What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors?

So why is tai chi  good for older adults? The practice of tai chi offers many benefits:

Mental boost: The meditation and breathing aspects of tai chi can help reduce depression, anxiety, and other emotional or mental health conditions. Plus, attending classes and socializing can give you something to look forward to.

Pain reduction: Research shows that when practiced regularly, tai chi can help reduce pain, especially from knee osteoarthritis, back problems and fibromyalgia.

Cognitive functioning: Studies reviewed in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that tai chi may have beneficial effects on cognitive function, particularly in older adults without existing cognitive impairment. 

Fall prevention: According to a research review published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, when compared to other balance and fall prevention programs, practicing tai chi for 12 to 26 weeks one to three times weekly reduced the incidence of falls by 43%. 

Parkinson’s disease: A 2018 research review published in Clinical Rehabilitation found that tai chi significantly reduced falls in people with Parkinson’s disease and stroke, and also improved balance in those with Parkinson’s disease.

How to Get Started in Tai Chi

One of the best things about tai chi is that no special equipment is needed, and any comfortable loose-fitting clothing is appropriate for the exercises. To get started, look for classes in your area.  At an independent living community like Lakewood, you’ll find a variety of fitness and wellness classes — including tai chi — that can help you enjoy a happier and healthier life. 

Lakewood is Focused on Your Health and Wellness

At Lakewood, we feature a variety of wellness programs to help you live the life you envision. To learn more about our engaging independent living community, fill out our contact form.