Tai Chi is a moderate or delicate form of exercise originating from China. It uses slow, gentle, and continuous body movements which exercises muscles and joints.
Tai chi enhances physical well-being. Flexibility, strength, good posture, balance, and reduced pain are some of the many benefits. People with arthritis can benefit from specialized tai chi classes. Some tai chi instructors are trained specifically to work with people with arthritis.
Other benefits of tai chi include relaxation, not only during class time, but at other times as well. Deeper breathing during exercise helps to increase lung capacity and function which also can enhance relaxation. As with most forms of exercise, increased energy is always a benefit.
Classes in tai chi are available at many recreation and senior centers. Tai chi has been taught to nursing home residents as well. Instructors should be trained to teach this form of exercise to students. Students can sit or stand during tai chi. Talk to an instructor for more information about their particular class. Better yet, ask to watch a class before you sign up so you know if it is right for your older family member or friend (or yourself!).
Tai chi has been one of the best exercises I have ever learned. It is relaxing, it uses your mind (to remember the exercise routine), it moves all muscles and joints, and the slow continuous movements requires focus and pacing (not rushing!). It can be done at home without any special exercise equipment.
*Source Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program-Instructor Guide, 2002, 2008 Dr. Paul Lam, Tai Chi Productions and the Arthritis Foundation