Did you have to miss your grandchild’s soccer game because you couldn’t get on the field? What about that dance recital in the auditorium with too many stairs? It is a heartbreaking reality that I hear all too often. A fear of falling can rapidly turn into a fear of leaving the house, a feeling of being a burden on your family, and ultimately depression. No one should let themselves get to this point.
Staying active and participating in a regular exercise program is a vital part of keeping yourself strong, balanced and decreasing your risk of falls. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that has become increasingly popular as a method of exercise used today. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep breathing. This may be a suitable option for you to help maintain flexibility and strength as you age.
Some benefits of tai chi can include:
- Decreased levels of stress, anxiety and depression
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved flexibility, balance and agility
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased falls
There are also several different styles of tai chi. Below are just some of the different variations of tai chi:
- Yang style. This is characterized by gentle, graceful and slow movements, which are easy to learn.
- Chen style. This athletic style combines fluid fast and slow movements. It is also characterized by explosive power and low stances.
- Sun style. This is characterized by an upright stance, small arm movements and short steps along with movements that flow backward and forward.
- Wu/Hao and Wu Styles are among the five main styles of Tai Chi. Both involve small movements performed smoothly and slowly.
Much research has been done in regards to falls and tai chi in the elderly. Did you know that one in every three older adults (people over the age of 65) falls each year? Even scarier is that fall-related injuries are the leading cause of death from injury and disability among older adults. One of the most serious fall injuries is hip fracture and almost half of those older adults that suffer a hip fracture never regain their previous level of function.
Tai chi involves deliberate movements that shift the body weight from one leg to another in coordination with arm movements as well as single leg activities. Shifting the weight inside and out of your base of support is a great way to challenge and improve your balance. Tai chi like many other forms of exercise can be modified and tailored to your fitness level. Tai chi has been shown to significantly improve performance on standardized balance testing as well as increase people’s sense of confidence in regards to their balance!
For those of you who are looking for a little more information about Robbins Rehabilitation then check out our website Robbinsptwest.com. You’ll find valuable information on all different body parts and can keep up with our future blog posts!
If you are in the Allentown area and are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give us a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
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