5 Reasons Seniors Should Try Tai Chi

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

June 26, 2018

Tai chi is a kind of martial art that the Chinese have practiced for years.
There is no competition involved. In fact, it’s considered an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety. Tai chi is commonly recommended for older adults because it is relatively safe and involves slow, easy movements. Don’t let the slow, rhythmic movements of tai chi fool you, though. It is also an excellent form of exercise. Below are 5 reasons to encourage your older family member to try tai chi.

Home Care Services in Squirrel Hill PA: Tai Chi for Seniors
Home Care Services in Squirrel Hill PA: Tai Chi for Seniors

#1 Improves Balance
Tai chi is an effective method of improving balance because it increases leg strength while also improving flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes. All of these things are essential to helping older adults to remain upright. In fact, research shows that tai chi is especially effective for improving the balance of people who have Parkinson’s disease.
#2 Reduces Risk of Falling
Because tai chi improves balance and muscle strength, older adults who practice it are less likely to fall. In addition, tai chi can build confidence and make seniors less afraid of suffering a fall. This is important because being afraid of falling is an accurate predictor of a future fall. Studies show that seniors who do tai chi are at a 45 percent reduced risk for falls.
#3 May Reduce Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
A study that appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease showed that doing tai chi could protect seniors from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study lasted 40 weeks and involved 120 participants. At the end of the study, the participants who did tai chi 3 times per week saw the best brain benefits. Researchers suggest that this may be because the brain is engaged in concentrating on the movements.
#4 Improves Arthritis Symptoms
Research indicates that practicing tai chi can improve joint function in older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee. By taking a tai chi class twice a week, seniors can reduce joint pain and improve their joint function.
#5 It’s Easy to Get Started
Tai chi is low impact, so most people are able to do it. Older adults can start easy and then increase the strenuousness as their health improves. It’s even possible to adapt tai chi for people in wheelchairs. There are tai chi classes available in most communities. Or, the older adult can use a DVD or an app to try it at home.
If your elderly family member is interested in trying tai chi, a home care provider can help them to get started. A home care provider can assist them in finding a class in their area. If there are no classes available or if they would rather try it at home, the home care provider can help them purchase a DVD or app. Home care providers can also monitor seniors trying tai chi at home to ensure they remain safe.

If you are considering Home Care Services in Squirrel Hill, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care. Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551.