Tai Chi for Arthritis and so much more
What do you know about Tai chi? It is an internal Chinese martial art originally practiced for defence training, but also for health benefits and meditation. You may have seen the yin and yang symbol, yin is relaxation and yang is tension. You don’t want to be too “yin” or too “yang.” Having a good balance of the two is what Tai chi is about. It’s because of the many different benefits of this ancient practice, many people today use it for a variety of reasons.
At St. Francis Manor, we have now been offering Tai Chi for Arthritis! Our Fitness Director Kayla Faas is a certified Tai Chi for Arthritis instructor and began the first week of March teaching classes at Seeland Park.
Tai Chi is not only good for arthritis but there are many other benefits as well, including:
- Social Interaction
- Stress Relief
- ROM (Range of Motion)
- Increase Strength & Flexibility
- Fall Prevention
- Improve Memory
- Support & Protect Joints
- Builds Confidence (help be less fearful of falling)
According to an article from the arthritis foundation, “Recent studies have found that the slow, graceful exercise, which originated centuries ago as a martial art, can improve balance, reduce stress and offer arthritis pain relief. A study released by researchers at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, found that tai chi could specifically reduce the pain and physical impairment of people with severe knee OA.”
Range of Motion is Key
“Our program is a very gentle and relaxing exercise that helps integrate the mind and body. We only extend to about 70% of our normal range of motion and we stay in a higher stance to be sure that we aren’t putting more stress on our joints,” says Kayla. “It also focuses a lot on weight transference, which helps in preventing falls. This program is researched-based. In fact, one of the studies showed falls were reduced by nearly 70%.”
But what if I think it’s not for me?
“I would encourage first time participants in the program to keep an open mind and to not give up. It takes a lot of practice and dedication, but the end result is worth it. I studied this program for months before I did my workshop to be certified to teach,” says Kayla. “They recommend spending at least 16 weeks on teaching this program (but a lot of the time it takes longer). There is a lot of depth to hold interest and I think there is always room for improvement.”
Try this program to aid in arthritis issues, or simply because it helps you slow down and feel more relaxed. This is an easy to learn activity and each movement is broken down into steps that make it much easier to understand when you put it all together. “I am very impressed and proud of how far my classes have come so far with learning the forms,” says Kayla.
For more information about Tai Chi or any of the other fitness classes offered on campus, contact Kayla at 641-269-5424, and check out all of SHAPE’s fitness classes on our website.