I’m a big fan of tai chi and yoga; they are a wonderful exercise for young and old — especially tai chi for the elderly. They also provide terrific and sustaining lifestyle changes to deal with stress. The Mayo Clinic website just published a nice series of articles about tai chi and yoga that can help beginners. Their yoga article has a nice review of its benefits as well as the philosophy behind it. No one should be intimidated by yoga’s Eastern philosophy, as yoga can simply be seen as a stress-relieving activity that keeps you in shape as well. Here’s their review of yoga:
Yoga is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice. Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety. Traditional yoga philosophy requires that students adhere to this mission through behavior, diet and meditation. But if you’re just looking for better stress management — whether because of life’s daily hassles or a health problem you’re facing — and not an entire lifestyle change or way of life, yoga can still help.
Don’t know how to do yoga, or don’t have time? The Mayo Clinic also has a nice video to guide you through the basic poses.
Tai chi is another eastern art that emphasizes movements and balance. It can be quite graceful, and it is lovely here in Beijing to watch the hundreds of elderly Beijingers performing their morning tai chi routines in the parks. Who can benefit from tai chi? Here’s what they say in their review:
The intensity of tai chi varies depending on the form or style practiced. Some forms of tai chi are more fast-paced and exerting than are others, for instance. However, most forms are gentle and suitable for everyone. So you can practice tai chi regardless of your age or physical ability — tai chi emphasizes technique over strength. In fact, because tai chi is low impact, it may be especially suitable if you’re an older adult who otherwise may not exercise.