Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art often referred to as meditation in motion. When practiced as a form of fitness, tai chi emphasizes slow movements, breathing exercises, and mindfulness. This low-impact exercise is beneficial for people of all fitness levels, and it’s especially effective for seniors looking to enhance their mental and physical health. Here are some reasons seniors should try tai chi.
1. Facilitates Rehabilitation
Tai chi is commonly used as an adjunct therapy for people in rehabilitation. As an exercise, it enhances strength and balance through gentle movements, which makes it an ideal form of physical therapy for seniors recovering from injuries or seeking relief from chronic conditions. Seniors recovering from fall-related injuries and those with conditions such as arthritis may benefit from tai chi. This gentle exercise therapy can speed the recovery process following injuries and provide day-to-day relief for seniors living with chronic joint pain.
Seniors who need help doing tai chi or performing another type of exercise should consider professional in-home care. In Colorado Springs, senior home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
2. Increases Muscle Strength
The movements used in tai chi help aging adults build upper and lower body strength. Tai chi includes unsupported arm exercises, which boosts strength in the arms and upper body. Moving through the standard tai chi forms works the core and leg muscles, thus building muscle strength in the lower body as well. As seniors become stronger, they’ll be less susceptible to injury.
Doing tai chi and other types of exercise can also help seniors maintain their independence. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Colorado Springs seniors can depend on.
3. Boosts Flexibility
As seniors age, they often become less flexible. Their joints and muscles tighten, which can hinder everyday activities such as reaching high shelves and tying shoelaces. Tai chi forms build and stretch muscles, leaving seniors with increased range of motion. Because tai chi provides a total body workout, seniors will likely notice increased flexibility in every part of their bodies, from the legs to the shoulders.
4. Provides Cardiovascular Benefits
Not all tai chi forms have cardiovascular benefits. However, when this martial art is practiced at a fast pace, it can raise the heart rate and burn calories. Seniors looking for a gentle form of activity may derive aerobic benefits from tai chi.
5. Enhances Balance
When seniors slip and fall, the resulting injuries can take a major toll on their mobility, which is why it’s important to increase their balance. Tai chi helps older adults hone their proprioception, the sensory awareness of the body’s position in space. This sense naturally decreases as people get older, but tai chi, which combines mindfulness and movement, increases spatial awareness.
6. Promotes Emotional Wellness
Tai chi also emphasizes active breathing and mindfulness, which can have a major impact on emotional wellness. Seniors who practice tai chi might discover their stress levels decrease and their overall outlook becomes more positive. Seniors with depression or anxiety may find physical and emotional relief from the practice of tai chi.
If your loved one needs help and supervision to perform tai chi but you’re not available to assist him or her, consider hiring a professional caregiver. At-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (719) 822-1229 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.