When you’re moving into a senior living community, one of the first things you’ll likely look for is what kind of activities there are for you to do at your new home. Getting involved in social groups for clubs, exercise, and more are vital to thriving in your new home.
There may be some new classes, phrases, or terms that you’ve never seen before, though. Yoga, tai chi, meditation and mindfulness, and more are all classes or clubs that are offered at different senior homes across the country, but there are many seniors who go into these classes not knowing what to expect.
At our Madison Heights senior apartments, tai chi is one of the many wellness classes we offer. If you’re considering joining one of these classes, here’s the scoop on what you need to know:
What Exactly Is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that has been practiced by many people – both young and old – for centuries. Unlike other forms of martial arts like karate, Tai Chi focuses more on the meditation aspect of martial arts. It’s most well-known for its focus on meditation, breathing techniques, and solid, intentional movements.
Over the years, Tai Chi has been modified to be used for many different purposes like strength training and self defense, but its slow and repetitive movements are easy for anyone to follow.
Why Can Tai Chi Be Good for Seniors?
Seniors, first and foremost, benefit from exercise in any form they’re able to practice it in. From walking clubs, to yoga, to cycling, and more, exercise is beneficial for both a senior’s physical and mental health. Tai Chi can help get seniors up and active in a way that they may not have experienced before, giving them a new and exciting hobby.
Additionally, Tai Chi, especially Tai Chi as practiced with seniors, has slow, practiced movements that are choreographed by the instructor and are easy to follow. As they move, seniors are taught how to breathe correctly, how to focus on moving particular body parts, how to memorize a routine, and more. In an easy, careful way, Tai Chi ticks many of the boxes that seniors need to practice good health and wellness.
The Benefits of Tai Chi
Seniors can benefit greatly from taking Tai Chi classes. Because it is a form of martial arts, Tai Chi puts heavy emphasis on balance and stability, which is something that seniors can always use extra practice on. As a senior’s balance improves and their stability improves, seniors run less of a fall risk and are able to easily be more mobile.
Tai Chi also strengthens leg muscles and arm muscles, especially, making it easier for you or your senior loved one to be up and active for longer periods of time. This is also true because this calm martial art is awesome for strengthening core muscles, helping you or your senior stay more stable even when sitting.
Mindfulness and Meditation
The best part about Tai Chi is that it’s beneficial to seniors both physically and mentally. One of the heavy emphases in Tai Chi is mindfulness and meditation, having all participants focus on themselves internally. Seniors who practice mindfulness may be less prone to mental health conditions like depression and anxiety that are often prevalent in seniors.
Because Tai Chi is a choreographed routine, Tai Chi can help improve your senior loved one’s memory. Each move is practiced over and over again in a routine, helping to improve your senior’s pattern recall. Even if your senior isn’t memorizing full routines, even remembering each individual step is huge for your senior’s memory!
Keeps Seniors Social
Don’t forget the social aspect as well! Joining a Tai Chi class like those at our Madison Heights senior apartments helps you senior to get out and be social with other seniors in their community. Being social is a vital part to a senior’s mental and emotional well-being, just as it is for any of us. Tai Chi is able to give an avenue for senior to get up and be active.
Are There Any Risks or Disadvantages to Tai Chi?
As with any exercise or martial art, there are some downsides to Tai Chi, however they are few and are similar to any downsides that you may experience when exercising in general.
Until you or your senior can build up your strength and balance, falling while practicing Tai Chi is a risk. As with any martial art, it takes time to master, and there can be slipups while you work on improving your craft. Over time, however, this risk diminishes and you won’t have to worry about falling so frequently or at all.
Another disadvantage which may potentially become an advantage is soreness. Tai Chi, when practiced correctly, is a full body workout, and many seniors may not be used to the strain put on certain muscles as they learn how to move in the proper way. Over time, as you build strength and continue practicing, the soreness will go away. However, until that time, you might be sore for quite a while!
However, it’s important to note that these risks are only risks that you may experience when beginning any kind of exercise program, whether it is Tai Chi or running, or whether you are a senior or a young adult. Over time, these risks are less and less likely to occur as you master the art of Tai Chi and feel more comfortable exercising.
Tour Our Madison Heights Senior Apartments Today!
Here at our Madison Heights senior apartments at Reserve at Red Run, we’re thrilled to be able to offer you or your senior loved one a wide variety of classes including yoga, barre, personal training, and Tai Chi. We believe that it’s important for seniors to not only get up and active, but have options so that they can figure out what they enjoy doing the most.
If you’re interested in making Reserve at Red Run your new home, contact us today!