Many people who practice tai chi are able to improve their balance and reduce their risk of falling. A centuries-old, mind and body practice, tai chi involves relaxing your body through gentle movements that include a focus on breath. Tai chi is sometimes called: “moving meditation.” When people practice tai chi, they move slowly and gracefully through specific poses.
One of the benefits of tai chi is that it can be adapted for people of all different activity levels. You can adapt the movements so you can practice them while walking, standing or sitting. Research suggests that practicing tai chi may improve your balance and stability. It’s a critical issue as more Americans are getting older. Every year, more than 1 in 4 older adults falls, according to federal statistics. Twenty percent of these falls causes a serious injury such as a hip fracture or a head injury.
If you’re thinking about trying a tai chi class, consider these four tips to help you safely improve your health:
- First, talk to your orthopaedic specialist. Consider your physical activity and whether you have any limits. Ask him or her whether tai chi might help you.
- Look for classes based on your age and current health. Some classes may be geared toward college students and stress management. Some tai chi classes are more likely to benefit people over age 60 with particular medical conditions.
- Observe several teachers and classes to find the best fit for you. There are many teaching styles, levels, and ways to practice tai chi.
- Give yourself time and patience. Try not to be discouraged if you can’t do all the movements. Think about the potential health benefits.
Sources: NIH, News in Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
+ Learn how advanced techniques used in total joint replacement at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists help patients recover faster.