Tai Chi, Fall Prevention, and Friendship

5 Apr

Here is our Tuesday morning Club W Tai Chi class, shown wearing NC Falls Prevention Coalition shirts. Our Tai Chi class this week was open to the public as a part of National Public Health Week: “Safety is No Accident.”

Tai Chi has many benefits, one of which is helping older adults to prevent falls. The New York Times recently published an article titled “New Advice on Preventing Falls” which states:  “For the first time since 2001 the American Geriatrics Society and the British Geriatrics Society have updated their guidelines for preventing falls in older people.  The update includes two notable changes:  One recommends Tai Chi – the meditative, slow-motion Chinese exercise – as an effective way to prevent falls, while another suggests that doctors review medication use by all elderly patients, with an eye toward reducing use of those drugs that increase the risk of falling.” 

The YWCA Club W Tai Chi class also provides another benefit: friendship.

Here is a letter from Club W member Joy Winer about this class:

“This is a letter written on behalf of several elderwomen members of your Tai Chi class, held on Tuesday mornings. We’d like to introduce our group to the larger YWCA family.

There are 7 of us who attend regularly. Of those 7, 6 of us gather every week after class to have coffee together, usually at Laurey’s. We share as women do – our lives, our pleasures, our sorrow. For me, this group has become my base of support, having moved here recently, a cadre of like-minded women available as needed – in other words, friends.

We recently talked about what we’ve each gained from Tai Chi instruction, week after week – the changes we’ve felt and seen. It’s not surprising that our mental coordination has increased right along with our body’s. Tai Chi challenges us to grow better, not older.

Let me introduce the regular attendees (not including our instructor, who also defies age):

* We range in age from 67 to 77:
* 6 out of 7 are members through SilverSneakers;
* We have taken Tai Chi classes anywhere from 1 year to 15 years;
* Length of membership at the YWCA ranges from 1 year to 10 years;
* We also use the YWCA for Strength N Flex, gym weight and machines, swimming;
* Personal benefits include better balance and flexibility, more overall strength, less pain, better sleep.

We encourage anyone to give Tai Chi a chance, not just once but for at least 10 classes. You will soon discover it’s not for sissies!”

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