21019032_s

I was going to call this Tai Chi and me but rather it should be whatever activity helps YOU retain some level of flexibility. I am not talking about gravity defying moves – just gentle consistent movement that that remind your body that stretching is good for you.  Staying flexible means mobility. Mobility means independence.

When I was designing the logo for my website, I rejected all the stiff little people icons and instead practiced my fledgling ink brush skills and made a silver figure who is more fluid, a Tai Chi  me position. Ok, the trademark people classified it as grotesque but… I love it and the idea of it. For me independence means keeping up with exercise and stretching movement as long as I can. Even if you are not taking long walks or doing weight resistance you can do stretching to keep yourself more flexible. I want to encourage people to find any exercise activity that suits them, their schedule, and their motivation to keep flexible and moving.

When I see older folks standing, walking upright and moving better than their years, I think,  what are they are doing to attain or retain this stature. There are classes for regular yoga, chair yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi , and even senior Zumba classes. Also great for socializing with your peers! There are several how to stretch guides free on the internet: this one I found to be more comprehensive as to the benefits of stretching for older folks:.http://www.stretching-exercises-guide.com/exercises-for-seniors.html. Again a quick disclaimer, consult your Doctor if you have preexisting conditions.

Back to stretching, I had taken a short class years ago for Tai Chi, and then used a DVD with lovely music for a while but did not stick with it. Tai Chi in particular is an ancient Chinese discipline involving a continuous series of controlled usually slow movements designed to improve physical and mental well-being (Webster dictionary) . There are literally thousands of videos on utube if you want to have a peek.

Since relocating,  I was able to find a class for seniors for Tai Chi through the elder ed program at the local community college . Now I am devoted to what it does for me. I may not get through and memorize all six sections of the Lang form Tai Chi , but I am going to try. It a challenge to my memory as well  to incorporate as much as I can to take home with me.

My balance has improved to the point that I can do my standing on one foot, (my  bone density building exercises-always next to a support) without wobbling. All the beauty of the movements makes your body remember what it is to reach without straining, arthritis and all. Tai Chi gives me many things. Find what works for you, and that gives you good feedback or you won’t do it on a consistent basis.

You do not have to get up far from the couch to do some simple stretching – ancient Chinese style or not.  Movement is life -reach for it!