Try tai chi for healthy lifestyle

By Rachel Hale

There are some words and phrases we are hearing more frequently that leads me to ask a million and one questions. “Healthy lifestyle” is one of them. OK, so what do I need to do to claim my lifestyle is healthy?

I asked this question to one of my friends recently, and her response was one word: Exercise. Now I will admit I have never been a fan or friend of this. At least not in the typical way of attending a class or doing a series of scripted moves to music or even counting repetitions.

Knowing this about me, my friend suggested I try something new.

Tai chi! No, it’s not a tea! So what is it? I did some research and found out that tai chi is great for any age group. It involves a series of whole-body movements, which are performed in a slow, focused manner combined with controlled breathing.

It is a low impact exercise that puts minimal stress on muscles and joints. It helps improve balance by targeting all the physical components needed to stay upright: leg strength, flexibility, range of motion and reflexes. All of these tend to decline as we age.

It can be helpful in reducing blood pressure, relieves physical effects of stress, promotes deep breathing and can also help with arthritis pain.

Tai chi is found to be roughly equivalent to a brisk walk, depending on your intensity as you perform it. You do not need special equipment and you can do it indoors or outdoors, alone or with a group. And the best part is it only takes about 20 minutes a day!

Now that you know about tai chi, where do you go to give it a try?

The answer is easy. You can log onto or stop down at the Senior Center the first or third Wednesday of each month beginning in May.

Local tai chi teacher/sifu Kyle Scherer with Scherer’s Martial Arts Association will be teaching the class and it is free to Senior Center members. Not a member? No worries, the center will give adults age 50 or better two free visits to see how helpful and beneficial tai chi is to your healthy lifestyle.

I suppose it wouldn’t be good for me to promote something and not give it a try for myself, so yes, I am going to give it a whirl and see if I can begin claiming a “healthy lifestyle”!

By Rachel Hale

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.