Osteoarthritis is often seen as the natural progression of a long life of use. Every hard fall, overzealous jump, and high-impact workout can compound on each other into this joint disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, “osteoarthritis is the most common age-related joint disease affecting more than 80% people beyond 55 years of age.”
Despite this disease being most prevalent with those in their golden years, many seniors have found that they can manage their symptoms through Tai Chi. The following will reveal how seniors can quell their osteoarthritis through Tai Chi!
Fighting stiffness through stretching muscles
Adopting a regular Tai Chi practice allows seniors to fight feelings of stiffness through promoting flexibility. A 2019 article featured in Harvard Health Publishing traced this aforementioned connection, stating that Tai Chi can improve both upper and lower body flexibility.
The slow movements are, at their core, slow stretches. When you take part in slow stretching, you are gradually lengthening your muscles. More importantly, this lengthening occurs through a joint’s full range of motion, perfect for those who are living with inflamed joints.
Protecting joints through strengthening muscles
Another benefit lies in the strengthening of muscles. In Tai Chi, the lengthening ‘pull’ of the muscles is matched with a strengthening ‘push’. This ‘push’ is resistance training.
Although elderly individuals aren’t using resistance bands or weights, they are working against an important force: themselves! When they go through the poses, they are controlling their energy to move against themselves. This is perfect for seniors with osteoarthritis, as they can protect their joints through a low-impact resistance training.
Healing the body through healing the mind
For the elderly living with arthritis, Tai Chi may improve body wellness through promoting mental wellness. This connection could be because breathwork is so intrinsic to Tai Chi. With an emphasis on breath incorporation, seniors are actively bringing more oxygen to their bodies.
Research has shown that higher levels of oxygen in the mind can lead to better functioning in the brain. A better oxygenated brain can better delegate over the body, provide better reasoning skills, and improve overall mood.
This could be why Tai Chi has been described as a “mind-body” practice that is meditative, calming, and able to provide clarity. Through Tai Chi, seniors can quite literally help heal their body through healing their mind!