Tai Chi, a Chinese art initially practiced for defence training, has evolved into a meditative, calming exercise in recent years. Often described as “meditation in motion,” this practice helps reduce stress, calming the body, mind, and soul, and is especially popular amongst older individuals.
Because Tai Chi is slow and deliberate, involving repetitive and low-impact movements, it is an ideal exercise for older adults and persons with limited mobility. It can help strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility.
This post provides helpful Tai Chi tips for beginners new to the practice, though it’s highly recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercises. Now, let’s discuss ten benefits of this ancient martial art to older adults’ physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors
1. Improves Balance
One of the benefits of Tai Chi for seniors is a good balance in older adults, helping to prevent slips and falls. A report shows that falls are the leading cause of health concerns in older Canadians.
Tai Chi focuses on leg strength, reflexes, and range of motion, thus providing stamina for older adults to stand firm on their feet. Research shows that this practice can help reduce the risk of falls by about 50%. Additionally, the workout boosts walking confidence in older adults.
2. Promotes Good Posture
Older adults with bad postures can make improvements by practicing Tai Chi. This practice strengthens and tones the muscles responsible for an upright stance. By training the body to improve posture, Tai Chi properly aligns the spine, reducing stress on this part of the axial skeleton and enhancing flexibility.
3. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Tai Chi provides mental benefits to participants through breathing and relaxation routines. One of the most popular benefits of Tai Chi is that it helps to reduce anxiety and stress in older adults.
The deep breaths practiced in Tai Chi help people feel good about themselves and their environment, thus improving their overall mood. The gentle and slow movements help to connect the body and mind, reducing worries that cause stress and anxiety.
4. Enhances Sleep
The benefits of Tai Chi in older adults also include getting quality sleep. Getting a good night’s rest, which provides for proper body functioning and excellent overall health, can sometimes be challenging depending on our unique circumstances. People with difficulty getting proper sleep can consider Tai Chi a potential solution.
Tai Chi’s effectiveness in improving one’s sleep pattern is further proven through research on the effect of Tai Chi on seniors with insomnia. The study reveals that older adults with insomnia experienced better sleeping patterns after participating in Tai Chi sessions.
5. Eases Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is common among older adults and is a condition that may limit their mobility. Interestingly, movement of the joints is an effective way to deal with arthritis. Since some older people aren’t recommended to take part in high-intensity workout sessions, Tai Chi offers a safe and effective alternative.
By practicing gentle movements, older adults can easily adapt to this low-impact workout, thus, helping to manage joint pain.
6. Promotes heart health
Among the list of Tai Chi health benefits, promoting heart health in older adults is one of the most important. Tai Chi sessions can help lower older adults’ cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
This workout’s gentle movements help strengthen the heart without putting the body under undue stress, making it one of the best heart exercises. Also, the slow breathing movements integrated into Tai Chi promote better blood circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease.
7. Boosts the Immune System
Like many exercises, Tai Chi helps stimulate an older adult’s immune system. Older adults may experience changes in their immune systems. However, practicing Tai Chi can help boost their immune system.
Research demonstrates the relationship between Tai Chi and immunity in older adults. It confirms that Tai Chi is effective in triggering the immune response of older people against foreign body invaders.
Furthermore, this study reveals how Tai Chi stimulates older adults’ immune response to vaccines. This shows that the health benefits of Tai Chi include not only disease prevention but also enhancement of vaccine potency.
8. Increases Confidence
Engaging in Tai Chi for seniors can boost confidence and self-assurance in older adults. This ancient practice improves internal and external concentration, allowing participants to remain more focused and enjoy increased wellness.
Scientific research proves the relationship between Tai Chi and improvement in psychological well-being. Therefore, older adults are encouraged to participate in Tai Chi sessions to boost their self-esteem and confidence.
9. Improves Physical Strength
It’s not only high-impact exercises like weightlifting that can improve physical strength. Low-impact exercises like Tai Chi can also build muscles and boost endurance in older adults.
Tai Chi works on the upper and lower regions of the body, enhancing its core muscles. During the practice, essential nutrients are distributed to the body parts, enhancing cardiovascular system function. This results in increased strength and energy for people to handle daily tasks.
Older adults who partake in Tai Chi sessions are more likely to have stronger bones and better balance than those who don’t. In addition, recent scientific research on the effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength suggests that Tai Chi training can improve physical fitness and strength.
10. Boosts Cognitive Function
People who engage in Tai Chi are more likely to experience an improvement in their brain function, which is one of the benefits of Tai Chi. The workout promotes blood circulation from the heart to the brain, resulting in increased oxygen levels which contributes to a sharper brain.
Furthermore, a boost in the thinking abilities of older adults will help them stay coordinated and well-organized. To further confirm this, a scientific experiment reveals that consistent Tai Chi practice can help to increase brain volume and enhance cognitive abilities.
Older adults are encouraged to engage in this low-impact exercise as the benefits of Tai Chi for seniors are numerous. Since the practice involves slow and steady movements, it’s a safe exercise that people can quickly adapt to.
Depending on body goals, there are various Tai Chi styles for older adults. Regular Tai Chi training is essential to reap its maximum benefits.