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7 Basic Tai Chi Exercises for Seniors

7 Basic Tai Chi Exercises to Start your Routine

Martial arts conjures kicking, hitting, intense training, and bodily contact images. Although many martial arts feature aggressive combat tactics, there is a traditional martial art that does not encourage violence or self-defense. As a result, Tai Chi is ideal for seniors and the elderly seeking a low-impact workout that improves balance and benefits their health.

This article looks at Tai Chi exercises that help seniors or the elderly live better and stay energized.

7 Basic Tai Chi Exercises to Start your Routine

These activities are ideal for the elderly because they are non-competitive, low intensity, self-paced, and mix light physical training with muscle stretching to help avoid injury. In addition, the soft and flowing movements of Tai Chi encourage relaxation, stress alleviation, and mindful awareness of the present moment.

Tai Chi may be practiced by the elderly with restricted mobility. These activities can help kids keep active without worrying about injuries from strenuous exercise. Tai Chi may assist seniors in relaxing, revitalizing, and keeping their blood circulating by including it in their weekly routines.

 

Warm-Up

Warming up the body is vital for preventing injuries and facilitating Tai Chi exercises, just like any other training. “Stay Young with Tai Chi,” she writes in her book. In addition, Tai Chi warm-ups create a calm attitude and generate a feeling of well-being.

The waist loosening practice is an example of a fundamental Tai Chi warm-up:

  1. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Keep your arms at your sides. They should be relaxed.
  3. Spin your hips to the right and left, allowing your arms to hang lightly. As you twist your arms, they should flap against your torso.
  4. Continue performing this move for 1-2 minutes, or until your body has warmed up.
  5. You may then engage your neck, shoulders, and spine in the rotations, smoothing out each action.

 

Touch the Sky

This is a basic routine that is ideal for beginners. According to Domingo Colon’s guide, “the elderly’s Tai Chi exercises improve balance, strength, and flexibility.” This practice is also an excellent warm-up for a more intense workout since it helps coordinate breathing and movement.

  1. In a comfy chair, sit up straight with a good posture.
  2. Put your hands on your lap, keep your palms up, and position your fingertips pointing in the same direction.
  3. Put your hands up to your chest level, rotate your palms outward, and elevate your hands above your head. While doing this exercise, inhale slowly and deeply.
  4. Do not extend your arms too far. Maintain your elbows loose and slightly bent.
  5. Relax your arms and gradually lower them to your sides as you breathe softly and deeply.
  6. Return your hands to the beginning position with your palms turned upward after the breath.
  7. Repeat ten times more.

 

Windmill Exercise

This simple exercise improves flexibility, and it is perfect for the spine.

  1. Start by standing slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet flat on the surface.
  2. Loosen your shoulders and let go of any stress. Allow your arms to swing freely at your sides.
  3. Put your hands up in front of you. Place your fingers facing down at the ground.
  4. Breathe in and lift your arms to the center of your body, bringing them over your head, fingers pointing.
  5. Stretch your arms upward and curve your back gently.
  6. Breathe out and slowly lower your back to the floor, sliding your hands down through the center of your body.
  7. Lean forward from your hips and hang your arms lightly in front of you.
  8. Go back to your starting posture by breathing in and out.

 

Hand Exercise

Tai Chi hand exercises increase the flexibility of the shoulders, arms, and fingers.

  1. Start by standing slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms in front of your body, parallel to the ground, and straighten your shoulders, wrists, and elbows.
  3. Feel the strain in your hands as you flex them, then spin your wrists to the left and right.

 

Closing Posture

The closing posture, traditionally done at the end of a Tai Chi practice, is intended to balance your energy and encourage relaxation and peace.

  1. Stand up. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Loosen your shoulders, place your hands in a cupped posture, and position your palms facing up in front of your pelvic bone.
  2. Close your eyes and visualize pushing your energy up as you raise your hands to the center of your body and then onto your chest.
  3. Breathe in and turn your hands so that your palms face down. As you press your hands toward the floor, visualize sending your energy down.
  4. This exercise should be repeated for 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Shooting the Bow

Making this move looks like archery.

  1. Your feet should be shoulder apart. Place your arms at your sides freely.
  2. Round your back and gently bend your knees while maintaining a comfortable posture and staring straight ahead.
  3. Make a fist and hold it straight in front of your face, fingers facing you and the heels of your palms contacting the sides.
  4. Inhale gently and deeply.
  5. As you slowly and thoroughly breathe in, spin at the waist to face to the left, stretching your left hand squarely in front of you.
  6. Your left hand should be open, palm facing out. Bend your left elbow slightly so that your left arm is relaxed.
  7. Meanwhile, draw your right fist down slowly, as if using a bow and arrow.
  8. As you go back to your starting posture, breathe out gently and deeply.
  9. Repeat the motion on the side with your next breath.
  10. Perform up to ten repetitions.

 

The Golden Lion Shakes its Mane

This move makes you feel like a lion.

  1. Take a seat in a comfy chair and sit properly straight. Keep your hands gently resting on your thighs.
  2. Be at ease and take deep breaths in and out. Breathe in softly and lean forward.
  3. Rotate your shoulders to one side, enabling your head and neck to rotate with your shoulders and spine.
  4. Breathe in gently as you go back to your starting posture by twisting your back and facing forward.
  5. Do the same on the opposite side.
  6. As you breathe in, reverse the motion to return to the beginning position.
  7. Perform up to ten repetitions on each side.

 

Why Choose Tai Chi Instead of Other Mind-Body Exercises?

Tai chi is particularly popular among the elderly. First and foremost, the majority of the workouts are performed on your feet. “Some people dislike getting up and down from the floor, so the idea that you can exercise standing or from a chair in your regular clothing is intriguing,” Wayne, a physical therapist, says.

Furthermore, the “no pain, no gain” philosophy that permeates much of Western exercise is conspicuously missing and prohibited in tai chi. “Tai chi does not have to be painful,” Kirchhoff argues. “If a person has a poor hip, knee, or ankle, they get to choose how much to stretch via a movement.”

Exertion is the same way. “I prefer to think of tai chi as a ‘gateway exercise,'” Wayne explains. “Since we’re conscious, we start gradually, and since we’re not adopting the Western cliché of ‘give it 110 percent,’ but rather ‘give it 60 to 70 percent,’ exercise seems more pleasant, secure, and sustainable.” People feel better about their abilities to achieve more when they gain confidence and willingness to participate in physical exercise.

Another reason Tai Chi is a good choice for the elderly is because it improves one’s ability to perform everyday tasks like carrying groceries or going up the stairs. Wayne did much research on the effects of tai chi on persons who had heart failure and discovered that the improvements extended to everyday function. “‘I put my pants on standing today, said one participant.” “These things creep up on people, even if that isn’t why they were in one of our experiments,” Wayne explains.

 

How Can Tai Chi Balance Out Risk of Falling?

One of the most significant advantages of Tai Chi for the elderly is its ability to reduce the risk of falling. “Think of tai chi as a multicomponent or even non-drug intervention regarding balance,” Wayne says. “Think of tai chi as a multicomponent or even non-drug intervention regarding balance,” Wayne says. “We know that cognition, particularly executive function, is important in avoiding falls and maintaining strength, flexibility, and coordination.”

What does this indicate? You essentially can transfer your mental concentration easily between tasks. Tai chi improves executive function by focusing on the transitions rather than the destination. For instance, if you’re going down the street while having a passionate conversation with someone, you’re more likely to fall or trip. However, tai chi teaches you to be mindful of everything that is going on to observe your breath, mental processes, and physical sensations and emotions simultaneously.

Try to stand on one foot and count back from 100 by sevens to feel this consciousness right now. You’ll probably be a little shaky and thinking a lot at first. But if you persist at it, you’ll get better. “We’ve discovered that following tai chi training, people improve at this sort of dual-task difficulty, which means the mind and body start functioning together more coherently,” Wayne adds. As a result, even while under mental stress, fewer falls occur.

Furthermore, there is some evidence that frequent tai chi practice increases bone density, making you less likely to suffer a crippling fracture if you fall. This advantage is critical since 54 million Americans over 50 have reduced bone density, which is particularly common in postmenopausal women.

Finally, fear of falling is a major predictor of falls in older people. For example, you may begin to walk more cautiously or participate in fewer activities, further deconditioning you. Both of these behaviors erode trust and increase the likelihood of further collapses.

“Unfortunately, it’s a terrible cycle,” Wayne explains. “What Tai Chi does gradually allows you to detect that fear’s appearance and correct that programming.” It’s one of the most effective tools for minimizing the fear of falling.”

 

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