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Archive for Sunday, November 18, 2001

Tai chi can boost fitness and offer arthritis relief

November 18, 2001

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I hear a lot about tai chi and how good it can be for arthritis sufferers. What is it? I don't have too much trouble from arthritis, Would it still be helpful to me?

There is a great deal of "buzz" about tai chi lately! We think it is well deserved and think it is a great form of exercise for many (but not all!) older adults, even those without arthritis. Here is some basic information that may help.

What is it?

Tai Chi is a form of exercise that originated in China. Recently, it has been shown to be an effective part of an exercise regimen for older adults, increasing flexibility, posture and strength. This information is from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 1996 May 44(5): 489-97.

Who can benefit from tai chi?

Everyone can benefit in some way. Tai chi is particularly helpful to individuals with arthritis, gait or balance disorders, or tendencies to falls.

How does tai chi work?

The exercises of tai chi have been shown to increase flexibility, muscle strength, and overall fitness. Each of these components is an important element of arthritis care or care for someone with an unsteady gait.

Tai chi exercises are gentle.

Tai chi exercises all joints and muscles of the body.

Tai chi is easy to learn and requires no special equipment.

Many practitioners of tai chi believe that it has an ability to improve one's overall outlook on life via exercising and improving the body-mind connection.

How can I get started?

Most people do best with personal instruction, or perhaps a video after individualized training. An 80-minute video, Tai Chi for Arthritis, is available from the Arthritis Foundation.

In addition, the Arthritis Foundation can lead you to instructors in your local area. Arthritis Foundation, P.O. Box 7669, Atlanta, GA 30357-0669. Phone: (404) 872-7100; Web site: www.arthritis.org

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