Tai chi is a traditional form of exercise that started in China. It is a martial art that uses slow, deliberate movements combined with a focus on taking deep breaths. It is a gentle form of exercise, making it perfect for older adults. In addition to being generally safe even for people who have not exercised regularly in the past, it has a wide variety of other health benefits that make it an excellent choice for your aging relative.
#1: Lowers Risk of Falling
Many studies have shown that people who practice tai chi reduce their risk of falling. In a review of existing studies, scientists concluded that part of the reason tai chi makes falling less likely is that it improves balance and makes people more flexible. Another study found that people who did tai chi feared falling less. Since a fear of falling is a risk factor for falls, reducing that fear also reduces the risk of falls.
#2: Reduces Pain
If your aging relative has a condition that involves chronic pain, like fibromyalgia or arthritis, tai chi may be helpful for reducing their pain. Some studies have shown that tai chi is particularly helpful for seniors suffering from osteoarthritis in their knees. It may also be especially helpful for fibromyalgia symptoms. In a 2018 study, scientists found that people with fibromyalgia who practiced tai chi showed more improvement in symptoms than did those who did aerobic exercises.
#3: Less Stress
Many people consider stress reduction one of the biggest benefits tai chi has to offer. A recent study compared how tai chi affected stress in comparison to other forms of exercise. They found that tai chi was just as effective for lowering stress-related anxiety as other kinds of exercise. They also believed that tai chi might be even better for stress because it also uses focused breathing and meditation.
#4: Improved Sleep
There seems to be a connection between tai chi and better sleep. In a study involving older adults, researchers concluded that practicing tai chi twice a week for at least two months helped seniors with cognitive impairments to sleep better at night. Another study involving young adults showed that the reduction of anxiety through tai chi also improved the quality of sleep.
If your aging relative is interested in trying tai chi, they can learn to do it either by taking a class or using a video at home to guide them in learning the movements. Either way, senior care can help them to get started and stay safe. Senior care providers can assist older adults in finding a local class to attend and drive them to it. Or, if they prefer to try tai chi at home, a senior care provider can help them to get a video and keep an eye on them at home to make certain they remain safe.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Northbrook, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.
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