Help Prevent Falls with Tai Chi

Readers of this blog know that I encourage seniors to improve their quality of life through fitness and exercise.  Not only is it a great way to socialize and feel better, but it has a measurable impact on improved health and well-being. 

As reported in The New Old Age Blog, http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/, the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatric Society have recently updated their guidelines for preventing falls to recommend the slow-motion Chinese exercise, Tai Chi.  Tai Chi is especially effective  for seniors because its small, controlled movements focus on increasing balance and  core strength without the use of weights and with no impact on joints. 

A quick search on Tai Chi and my city resulted in over 50 links for finding Tai Chi classes, and it is taught in many churches, synagogues and community centers for low or no cost. 

Once your doctor has cleared you for an exercise program, it is important to find something you enjoy so that you stick with it.  If organized classes aren’t for you, you can work on improving your balance by working up to standing on one foot for 30 seconds at a time.  Stand near a straight back  chair that you can grab on to if you need it, and try lifting up one foot for 5 seconds, then 10, increasing to 30 as you feel comfortable.   As you improve your stability through this exercise, you might decide that you’d like to go even further through a Tai Chi class.

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