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Seniors Doing This Cool Thing Blissfully Live Independently Longer: Researchers

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By Deborah Dupré

Tai Chi is among the many various protocols included in “Complementary alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently referred to as “integrative medicine.” It’s a slow meditative exercise designed for relaxation, balance and health. The Chinese believe it improves the flow of chi which is thought to prevent illness and improve well-being. Harvard researchers have shown that Tai Chi not only reduces stress and lowers blood pressure but also, when seniors practice it, they remain peacefully independent longer..

Studies show Tai Chi helps older adults improve posture, balance, muscle tone, flexibility and strength — critically important because older adults are prone to falls. In fact, about one third of  seniors over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falling increases proportionately with age. Learning to not fall is paramount for well-being, including independence.

Don’t let the slow-mo trick you.
“The slowness that you see from the outside can be deceptive,” says Dr. Peter Wayne, research director of the Ochsner Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
As an aerobic workout, tai chi is roughly the equivalent of a brisk walk (depending on the intensity at which you perform it). And as a resistance training routine, some studies have found it similar to more vigorous forms of weight training, says Dr. Wayne, also founder and director of Tree of Life Tai Chi Center in Somerville, Massachusetts and co-author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi.

“Tai Chi is a form of exercise, but it’s so much more than just that.  It’s an amazing way to relax and de-stress, and as such really belongs under Simple Pleasures as well. I can’t think of a better way to start your day than doing these relaxing exercises – preferably in the fresh air,” writes Eat Live Grow Paleo editor Joanna Alderson.



Tai Chi, however, is by no means only for seniors. Many Spas offer classes in Tai Chi because it tones the body and relaxes the mind — and that means less chance of diseases setting in.

Throughout the world’s cities, groups can be seen practicing Tai Chi.

This gentle exercise is especially useful for people recovering from injuries. A class is probably the easiest way to learn Tai Chi, but one can learn online, if you prefer or need to learn alone at home.

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    • Pink Slime

      Yes, yes, martial arts SLOWED down. Not a big deal…. :cool:

      • Deborah Dupre

        Gday, Slime. You forgot to yawn – but thank you for being right there watching to pounce.

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