For Seniors Only: Chair Chi: Tai Chi for Older Adults
Chair Chi is an exercise program based on the principals of Tai Chi and Qi Gong, but designed for older adults in retirement communities, assisted living centers, personal care homes, nursing homes, adult day centers, community centers and senior centers. Chair Chi, requires no special equipment, but can be used by activity directors at all levels of senior living from Independent Living to Memory Care.
Chair Chi is a gentle program to help people receive the benefits of traditional Tai Chi and Qi Gong in the comfort and safety of their chair. The program allows people who cannot stand or lack confidence with their balance, such as those who use a walker, wheelchair, or have a movement disorder, to participate and benefit from body-mind exercise.
These benefits include:
Increased range of motion
Greater stress reduction
and increased peace of mind
It also helps improve breathing capacity for participants with asthma and emphysema. While improving hand, foot and eye coordination, it also helps burn fats and calories, lower cholesterol, improve heart rate and blood pressure levels, and assists in alleviating the pain from osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fibro/polymyalgia and neuropathy.
A Chair Chi session works six major areas of the body:
Arms and shoulders
Chest and back
Abdominals and back
Hands and fingers
“Picture being in a pool of water. Push the water.” The purpose is to have participants make a constant push/pull movement, isotonic training, that will work the muscles, and result in strength training without aggravating the joints which can cause arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, etc.
During the 30-45 minute session there is a constant flow of one exercise to another in a process which will also help bring on relaxation and tranquility, as well as, an extension of range of motion and flexibility.
Exercise in the older adult is vitally important. Muscle mass decreases as we age. Beginning in the fourth decade of life, adults lose 3%-5% of muscle mass per decade, and the decline increases to 1%-2% per year after age 50. Muscle mass can increase at any age in response to exercise. Research studies show that muscle strengthening and balance retraining exercises in older men and women (ages 65 to 97) reduce the risk of falls and fall injuries by as much as 35%-45%. Programs like Chair Chi should be incorporated into a well-balanced senior exercise program for its many benefits, cost-effectiveness and adaptability.
Chair Chi has been added to the program offerings at the Shepherd’s Center located at 1700 Ebert Street for 2014, beginning February 6, 2014 at 10am. The class will be instructed by Mary Ruth Dobbins, a veteran volunteer, certified instructor and supporter of the Shepherd’s Center and its mission to serve older adults. While this class is free, donations are always welcome and applied to expanding programming for older adults throughout Forsyth County.
Contact the Shepherd’s Center at 748-0217, or visit the website atwww.shepherdscenter.org.