Tai Chi is growing in popularity across the U.S. It can be easily learned by anyone with the desire to strengthen body, mind, and or spirit. Tai chi is especially good for people that are not interested in, or ready for, strength training with weights or machines.
Tai chi is not to be confused with a strenuous martial art. Its roots are based on ancient tai chi and chi gong martial arts; however, it is a mind-body exercise. You perform slow, gentle, and continuous movements with your body while also focusing on breathing.
Many of the movements have poetic names like “Wave Hands in the Clouds,” “Playing the Lute,” and “Push the Mountain.” People find it hard to believe that the slow gentle rhythmic movements actually make people stronger, but it does.
Studies have confirmed that tai chi improves balance and helps prevents falls. Research also suggests that tai chi may reduce pain for someone with arthritis.
Harvard Medical conducted a study in 2015 of the benefits. In their Harvard Health publication, called “An introduction to Tai Chi,” over 94% of participants had positive effects from regular practice of tai chi. Benefits can often be received from practicing only twice a week for an hour – although for many it becomes a daily practice.
Classes are offered in many area towns including Ludlow, Springfield, Bellows Falls, Londonderry, and Rutland. More information is available from Central Vermont Council on Aging in Rutland and Senior Solutions in Springfield.
Written by Ken Saccardo