"Her name is Marie, she does tai chi, and so do we.
She is moving and alive.
We're just trying to survive, but Marie is 95."
She has an eye condition called macular degeneration and is legally blind. She also has arthritis. When she started taking the class three years ago, some of the movements were painful.
But there was no stopping her.
"It's really remarkable to see her," Milner said. "We think if she can do it, we can keep going. It may help us keep our abilities longer."
"Tai chi helps with balance, strength and mobility," he said. "People feel better when they are done."
Students perform continuous fluid movements with their limbs and torso, and Lund "never sits down," Sheils said.
"She seems to have gotten stronger over the past few years."
Lund said she began taking Sheils' class during visits to Ponte Vedra Beach to see her daughter. She was having problems with her feet and heard that tai chi could help. It did. Three years ago, when Lund left her home in Philadelphia to move in with her daughter, she became a class regular.
"I have seven children, so I was always very active," she said. "The class has helped me immensely."
Including with improving her balance, she said. "For years, I could not sweep for a long time with a broom."
After taking tai chi, "one day I swept for one whole hour and it didn't bother me," she said. "I've been doing it every day since."
The ancient Chinese form of soft, coordinated body movements focuses on cultivating internal energy called "chi."
The movements are practiced in a continuous flow, and can be adapted for people with physical limitations.
Since the martial art "enhances balance and body awareness through slow, graceful and precise body movements," it can significantly reduce the risk of falls among older people, and may be beneficial in maintaining gains made by people age 70 and older who undergo other types of balance and strength training, according to a National Institute of Aging report.
Lund said that when she first did the shoulder movements, "the pain was terrific." Now she can do them pain-free.
She doesn't do everything. At one point, "you have to stand on one foot and I am always afraid I might fall," she said. "So I don't do that."
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