From the Office: Tai Chi for Arthritis can offer results

Terri Whitney

In general, seniors find that as they age, their activity levels decrease. For some, the activity level is reduced due to physical limitations or medical conditions. For others, they see a reduction in their strength and stamina due to a lack of physical activity.

Seniors can benefit from physical activity, preferably on a daily basis. Through a program of physical activity, significant health benefits can be seen and the activity doesn’t need to be strenuous. Fitness is important for a senior’s overall health and proper functioning of heart, lungs and muscles.

The Administration on Aging found the Tai Chi for Arthritis program to meet the criteria for evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion programs. Through the Office for the Aging, seniors can take advantage of this evidence-based program that is proven to relieve pain, improve their health and their ability to do things. Tai Chi for Arthritis, an exercise program that originated in China, has been offered for a number of years through the Delaware County Office for the Aging. The Tai Chi for Arthritis program is a series of classes, two classes each week for an eight-week period, for a group of seniors interested in a safe, low-impact exercise that works on core muscles and breathing.

The main principles of Tai Chi for Arthritis include the integration of body and mind, fluid movements, controlled breathing and mental concentration. It’s an easy exercise program and can be performed standing or seated. The Tai Chi for Arthritis program is proven effective. More than 10 scientific studies have been done that show that the program can relieve pain while maintaining or improving a person’s health and quality of life.

The movements of Tai Chi for Arthritis join exercises that improve muscular health through weight bearing motions, flexibility and fitness. Improved muscular strength is important for supporting joints, which is important for normal physical function. Flexibility exercises allow people to move more easily and loosen up joints and muscles. Tai Chi for Arthritis can improve a person’s overall fitness. In addition to these benefits, Tai Chi for Arthritis can help to reduce pain and stress. This is a mind and body exercise that relaxes the mind and allows those who practice to experience less depression and improved immunity.

Those who participate in the Tai Chi for Arthritis program find it to be an enjoyable experience. They find that their balance and coordination improves, which reduces their risk of falling. They notice an improvement in their flexibility and range of motion. Their cardio-respiratory function improves through breathing techniques. They see a reduction in their stress and experience a feeling of serenity. They notice an improvement in concentration and memory. Their overall health improves and they become more confident.

Classes are offered throughout the year in various locations throughout Delaware County. Instructors have been trained to effectively teach the core moves of the beginners Tai Chi for Arthritis program. Advanced classes are also offered, through which additional moves are taught. As is encouraged in order to maintain the benefits of the Tai Chi for Arthritis program, many participants continue to practice the moves they learned at home long after their classes have ended.

The popularity of the program is shown in the demand for classes. Those who’ve attended classes encourage their friends to participate in upcoming classes. They want to share the positive results they’ve experienced with others.

The Tai Chi for Arthritis program is a perfect way for beginners to start an exercise program with a goal of improving their health and wellness. Classes continue to be in demand. To be notified when a class may be offered in your area or if you’d like to have a class held in your area, please contact the Delaware County Office for the Aging at 607-832-5750.

Terri Whitney is the director of the Delaware County Office for the Aging.

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