Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Tai Chi for Health - Stay Strong, Improve Your Balance

Regular practice of any of the Tai Chi for Health programmes helps people to build and maintain body strength. The slow movements found in Tai Chi for Health offer a low impact way of building muscle tone without putting the joints or muscles under too much repetitive strain.

And why is it so important to maintain all round body strength? Well as we age and or experience long term illness, or if you find yourself in recovery from a significant surgical procedure you'll know just how quickly we can lose muscle strength. You'll remember just how long it can take to get full strength back to the level you enjoyed before.

This article in the New Scientist magazine suggests just how important maintaining muscle strength can be to our long term health and wellbeing. The Tai Chi for Health programmes you learn in our classes emphasise the progressive building of strength for this very reason.

Elderly Lady Enjoys Tai Chi Practice in Shanghai
Elderly Lady Enjoys Her Tai Chi Practice
 Image by Tom Thai - licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The UK's four Chief Medical Officers recognise the important role Tai Chi has to play in building strength and maintaining balance. It is your relative muscle strength that affects how well you can maintain your balance. One of the prime reasons for people participating in our classes is to improve their balance. We see more and more people with a recommendation from their GP or physiotherapist for this very reason.

Why should you think about balance as important to your overall health and quality of life? In the UK 30% of people aged 65 and over will experience a fall at least once a year. For people aged 80 and over it rises to over 50 per cent (NICE, 2013). Falls become the number one reason older people get taken to the emergency department in hospitals across the country. Most falls don’t cause serious injury but they can leave you distressed and begin to lose confidence. NHS Choices recommends regular practice of Tai Chi in its guidance on falls prevention.

Make sure you choose a reputable Tai Chi for Health Instructor rather than a tai chi teacher who expects you to learn the martial arts or expects you to perform strenuous movements by yourself or with a partner. Recommendations from the Tai Chi for Health Institute on what to look for when choosing an instructor include:
“All Board certified instructors have attended the workshop, completed prior preparation and fullfilled requirements to be a safe and effective teacher of the respective program, and registered with The Tai Chi for Health Institute. Our training is comprehensive and specific for our programs. All instructors are required to be updated every two years to maintain the certification.”
If you would like to find out more or think a family member or friend might like to read this post please do share.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd love to see you in one of our classes covering Baildon, Bingley, Keighley, Saltaire, Shipley and Skipton.

All the best, Philip and Helen.