Taken from the positive aging newsletter July/Aug 2009
* TAI CHI: A NEW ROUTE TO BALANCE
Tai Chi, (pronounced “tie chee”), a form of Chinese martial arts, involves slow, rhythmic movements that are circular, flowing and low impact. Often called “moving meditation,” tai chi helps to develop balance and a sense of tranquility. Research done at the University of Illinois, Chicago, found that people who learned tai chi after having a stroke showed significant improvements when tested on their ability to maintain balance while shifting weight, leaning in different directions, and standing on a moving vehicle, such as a bus. The benefits from tai chi were evident after only six weeks of training with a physical therapist in weekly tai chi classes, and practicing at home alone.
Besides the benefits of improving balance, tai chi is also credited with improving circulation, flexibility, posture, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as easing pain and restrictions from joints. Tai chi is also simple and fun, regardless of one’s physical condition and age. Check out the local community center, Y, or health club for classes. U-Tube has short films illustrating this graceful practice.
From: Better Balance with Tai Chi by Michael O’Shea. Parade, May 3, 2009, pg. 13.