Tai Chi is a type of Asian martial art that is now practiced more for medication, muscle strengthening, and balance. Unlike some fitness regimes, Tai Chi is all about slower movements that involve pushing and pulling motions, finding your inner core, and breathing properly.
It’s an exercise form that most older adults can easily manage. Some exercises can be completed from a chair or wheelchair, too, making it suitable for those with mobility issues. No matter how your parent engages in a Tai Chi program, the benefits it offers for reducing stress should be the main focus.
Five Schools of Tai Chi
Generally, there are five schools of Tai Chi: Chen, Sun, Wu, Wu-Hao, and Yang. Each has subtle differences.
• Chen – Quick bursts of fast movements or jumps in between slower ones
• Sun – Faster, flowing coordinated movements
• Wu – Stances that require the leg and back to be in a straight line
• Wu-Hao – Slow, small movements
• Yang – Slow movements that are even and cover some space
As an example of a Tai Chi move, sit in a chair and keep the back and neck straight. Rest the hands on the lap so that the palms are facing the ceiling. While taking a deep breath, move the hands to the chest level and turn them slowly so that the palms are pointing to your lap. Keep inhaling while reaching over your head. Start slowly breathing out while lowering the arms and hands back to the starting position.
Your mom and dad may find that the styles that involve slower even movements are best for a beginner. Yang is one of the most popular styles and easy to manage.
How Does It Help With Stress?
Any Tai Chi program pairs the movements with a focus on deep centered breathing. Each deep breath helps ease stress by boosting endorphins that make you feel good.
A three-month study looked at the stress levels of 50 participants. Those 50 people were categorized into people actively participating in a Tai Chi program, some who were on a list to start a class soon, and those who took a different fitness program. The people who took the Tai Chi classes had lower reports of anxiety and stress than the others.
Look for Tai Chi classes at local gyms and senior centers. They’ll help your parents with balance and relaxation, which reduces the risk of a fall and helps ease stress.
There are other ways to ensure your parent can live independently at home. Call a senior care agency and ask about companionship services and transportation. Getting to Tai Chi classes won’t be hard when a senior care aide is doing the driving and scheduling.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Parkers Prairie, MN please contact the caring staff at Alternative Senior Care today. Providing Home Care in Central Minnesota and Surrounding Communities. Call us Today (320) 352-3350.