Tai Chi is listed as an ideal sport to try as it can help relieve some of the pain from arthritis.
This ancient Chinese exercise is now being used to help people with arthritis. ‘Chi’ is Chinese for energy. It can help you to gain balance, strength and flexibility.
It is also thought to help prevent falls among the elderly. The movements of tai chi are gentle, graceful and mystical and ideal for elderly people.
There are Dvd’s available by Paul Lam, ‘Tai Chi for Arthritis’. I wrote this article about it last year.
What are the health benefits of taking up Tai Chi? The non-competitive nature of tai chi has made it popular to many especially yoga lovers. It is also a suitable fitness choice amongst the older age cracker as it is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it a safe form of fitness for those with health concerns as well as being classed as a means of exercise and can be done outdoors keeping safe and distant in the present time.
T’ai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that focuses on slow, flowing movement from posture to posture. This liquid movement:
- Relieves stress
- Increases flexibility
- Improves balance
- Promotes a sense of centeredness and well-being
Exercise is a primary recommendation for fibromyalgia treatment, but many patients are worried that strenuous exercise can cause more pain. T’ai chi provides a good balance between gentle strength building and flexibility.
A study from Australia showed that people experienced a 25% reduction in their pain intensity when they completed the tai chi program. The smooth, gentle movements help to relax you and keep your mind calm and focused.
To put it into perspective, 23% reported an improvement in their pain, and 32% reported an improvement in their disability after completing a Tai Chi course.
However, scientists believe that the ‘positive’ results only last for as long as the patient takes part in the Tai Chi exercises.
It is accessible to all ages and physical abilities and can be practiced on many levels, from a simple ‘meditative’ exercise to a martial art.
The best part is that you don’t even work up a sweat, even though you seem to be moving every muscle in your body. I found the breathing exercises extremely good.
As with Yoga, there are many different types of Tai Chi to choose from. Or look for a qualified UK tai chi instructor at the Tai Chi Union.
If you want to try it at home first there are a number of DVD’s you can follow. One excellent one is Tai Chi For Beginners, 8 Lessons with Dr. Paul Lam. Tai Chi for Health Institute (Dr. Paul Lam) has a great article on how tai chi helps with arthritis.
The NHS website suggest that it is a good idea to watch a class or attend a free taster session before signing up for a course. If you have a medical condition or any health concerns, or haven’t exercised for a long time, speak to your GP before you start tai chi. They also point out that it’s a good idea to learn the basics of tai chi from an instructor to make sure your style is correct, effective and won’t cause injury. You can consider using a book or DVD once you’re familiar with the poses.