Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise which is particularly suited to older people. It has been scientifically proved that regular practice of Tai Chi will cut down the risk of falls, how does it do this?
Mindfulness leads to better body awareness.
Tai Chi is practiced in a slow deliberate fashion which develops a surprisingly high degree of concentration. This disciplined focus on what we are doing in the here and now is called by some mindfulness. The more that we are paying attention to what we are doing moment by moment the less lightly we are to have a nasty fall. When you start learning Tai Chi right from your first lesson you will be slowing down your busy mind and becoming more aware and in control of your body and how it moves.
Improved posture increases stability.
Improved posture through Tai Chi training will lower your centre of gravity and increase your stability. The more that your posture improves then the less you will need to use muscle tension to compensate for poor posture. By becoming more relaxed and natural in your posture and movements you are cutting down your chances of falling significantly.
A better sense of balance.
The practice of Tai Chi could be summed up in one word, balance! The slow motion martial arts type movements that you may well have seen Tai Chi people doing are only done that way to improve balance. When you move through a sequence of Tai Chi movements slowly you have to pay attention to what you are doing just to stay balanced. With regular practice Tai Chi will improve your balance dramatically making you more sure footed and confident.
Being top heavy and overextending.
People generally carry a lot of tension in their upper body which can make them almost top heavy if they start to fall. Training in Tai Chi will encourage you to move more from your feet giving you a more rooted feeling.
It’s often when we reach out too far suddenly, say to catch something that is falling, that we put ourselves in danger of a fall. Tai Chi puts a lot of emphasis on training us not too be over extended in our movements.
The added confidence to do more.
By improving your balance and being more sure footed you will also be increasing your confidence and ability to be more adventurous. It could be a walk in the country that covers some uneven ground and a few stiles or a dance class, having better balance lets you do more.