Tai Chi Chi Kung and the Elderly Senior Citizens
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncture and exercise therapist, my opinion is that the elderly can find no better exercise than Tai Chi and Chi Kung. The Prevention Magazine reported that “Tai Chi may be the best exercise for people over the age of 60 … providing cardio fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility all in one simple workout that is easy on the joints.”
Tai Chi and Chi Kung exercises are very gentle but very effective health and mobility enhancing exercises. They have been used for hundreds of years in the Orient to cure all manner of chronic ailments and enhance the health and quality of life for the elderly.
The deep breathing aerobic exercises of Tai Chi and Chi Kung strengthens the lungs and heart, improving aerobic capacity and vigour of blood circulation. Improvement in aerobic oxygenation of the blood not only enhances vitality and alertness, but also helps improve immunity from infections. Improved circulation helps the health of all organs and tissues and helps prevent deterioration of cardiac disorders. It also help to give a sense of vitality and glowing health.
With advancing age, many elderly senior citizens fell cold and chilly. Improved blood circulation with aerated blood helps to bring warmth to the whole body, including the limbs.
Stiffness, lack of flexibility and range of motion are some of the common complaints of the elderly. The various gentle stretch out and circular movements of Tai Chi and Chi Kung not only helps with range of motion and flexibility, but also exercises and strengthen the joints. Improved blood circulation and oxygenated blood to the joints brings nutrients and warmth to the joints to relieve joint stiffness and joint pain. Joint stiffness and joint pain are factors which discourage the elderly from exercising and thus further deteriorates their condition. Tai Chi and Chi Kung helps with arthritis conditions.
Bone density or bone strength may deteriorate with age (or osteoporosis). Those with such conditions may find it difficult to exercise safely. Tai Chi and Chi Kung are gentle very low impact aerobic in nature and are quite suitable for the elderly to help build bone mass.
Complications from falling injuries are the 6th highest cause of death among seniors. Studies show that Tai Chi is excellent for balance.
For the elderly with chronic conditions, there are many maladies that Tai Chi and Chi Kung can help. For details read my article “Medical Conditions Treatable by Tai Chi and Chi Kung”.
For those with limited mobility or disabilities, should not be disheartened if the standard exercises seem impossible to perform. eg. Those on wheelchair, or can not walk or stand up properly for long periods of time. Tai Chi and Chi Kung (especially Chi Kung) is very flexible! Find a special class for people with your condition. Or engage a special Tai Chi Chi Kung teacher to tailor special exercises for you.
Written by John Chow, a practitioner of Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, masseur,
healer and teacher of martial arts and spiritual paths in
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The information provided above is for general reference only. Although the author(s) has attempted to be as thorough as possible in compiling the information in this article(s), no legal responsibility nor liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. The information is presented for educational purposes only. Please refer any medical matter to your doctor before acting on any health-related information.