Tai Chi, a mind-body relaxation exercise, was devised by Chang San Feng for meditation and self-defense in the thirteenth century A.D. The 108 forms are performed in a slow relaxed manner, taking 30 minutes altogether. Tai Chi is a gentle system of traditionally standing group exercise that integrates breathing and rhythmic movements to achieve a conditioning effect. Tai Chi has been shown to have many benefits for the elderly. In this article we’ll explore the topic a bit more.
What Is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi originated as a form of martial arts but now has multiple forms and styles that have been adapted from the original form. Whereas Tai Chi was traditionally used in sports and competition, more recently Tai Chi has been advocated to have multiple medical benefits. The largest body of research about Tai Chi focuses on fall risk benefits.
Tai Chi involves learning multiple poses that are linked together with slow movements that emphasize control and balance. These routines or “forms” can range from the classic 108 postures to as few as 42. The focus required to complete the movements and postures and recalling the sequence of postures has been credited with both the mental calmness and the cognitive benefits associated with Tai Chi. Improvement in balance and decreased fall risk are attributed to the slow repetitive work and the emphasis on control and coordination, especially at the ankle.
Seniors Sleep Benefits From Tai Chi
In a clinical trial studying the effects of Tai Chi and sleep quality, 62 subjects over 65 years old were studied for a 12 week period. Tai Chi was found to have a significant impact on sleep quality. Below are more details about the study.
- During the intervention, Tai Chi Exercise sessions were held three times per week for 12 weeks.
- Duration of exercise was 5 minutes at first session gradually increasing to 20 to 25 minutes by the midpoint of the intervention.
- The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used for pre and post evaluation of older adult sleep quality.
- In the Tai Chi group sleep quality was improved significantly.
- The conclusion indicated that the Tai Chi Exercise can have a significant effect on sleep quality in older adults.
Seniors Balance Benefits From Tai Chi
Another study that focused on Tai Chi as well as function and balance found that Tai Chi warrants further study as an exercise treatment to improve the health of older people. Below are some benefits identified:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced fear of falling
- Reduction of multiple fall risk by 47.5%
Other Benefits Of Tai Chi For Seniors
Additional studies have found the Tai Chi shows benefits for older adults in the following areas:
- Fibromyalgia and an increase in quality of life score
- Cardiorespiratory function
- Immune system function
- Mental control
- Balance control
- Muscle strength
- Stress reduction
Orchard at Athens is a senior living community in Athens Georgia that understands the benefits of alternative exercise programs for our residents. Tai Chi is just one of the programs we offer to promote health benefits and living well as we age. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a tour of our community.