Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is some Tai Chi better than none?

My answer is a resounding YES! Just because a student doesn't have the inclination to learn the traditional long forms, should they avoid studying an easier version? I don't think so. 
Another one of my very new private students ( just a few lessons into the program) who has fallen several times in the last year, recently went on her first trip to Israel.
She had a wonderful time and best of all while walking all over the cities' uneven and even treacherous streets she did not fall or lose her balance EVEN ONE TIME!
This is very gratifying to me as her instructor, and just shows how a small amount of training and some effort on her part to change her bad habit of looking head down when walking, has made an important change in her life.
Physically now she is safer, and maybe even equally important, psychologically she has more confidence. Aside from posture - FEAR of falling is one of the biggest contributors to actually falling down. 
When one is fearful they tense up, when the muscles are tense the body can't GROUND to the earth and then the root of your balance is lost. By feeling confident the tension is less and the ability to relax and feel the ground support you,  you won't fall anymore. Practicing a few stepping moves and relaxing as you do so, you will gain the confidence and TRAIN your body with your mind to feel your balance. 
There are many more advantages to learning Tai Chi forms, but wouldn't it be amazing if every older adult had the opportunity to learn how to regain their balance just by learning a small tidbit of what Tai Chi has to offer?

A Fine Balance

Here's a great article by Moses Znaimer in Zoomer magazine about balance, why we lose it and how to regain it.
"This year, if current trends continue, about a third of Canadians over the age of 65 who are still living at home will suffer a fall. Half these people will be injured in one way or another; 25 per cent of them significantly and, 20 per cent of those badly enough that they’ll end up in the hospital. They won’t be alone – almost 62 per cent of all injury-related hospitalizations for seniors are the result of falls. (Second only to car accidents, falls are implicated in an amazing 29 per cent of all injury-related hospitalizations for all Canadians.) Nine out of 10 hip fractures suffered by Canadians are caused by falls; and one out of five who break their hips will die within a year of the accident (U.S. figures, even more dire, suggest that a full 50 per cent of seniors who are hospitalized in that country because of falls will not be alive after a year). In other words, dangerous falls are tantamount to an epidemic in the aging population."
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Saturday, March 17, 2012