SENIOR LIVING: Senior Services offers tai chi classes

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023

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The following article was provided by the Stanly County Senior Services:

Tai chi is a practice that involves a series of slow gentle movements and physical postures, a meditative state of mind and controlled breathing.

Tai chi originated as an ancient martial art in China. Over the years, it has become more focused on health promotion and rehabilitation.

Tai Chi is extremely beneficial for older adults since it combines gentle movements, deep breathing and mental focus and the Senior Services Department gives older adults in Stanly County the opportunity to practice and take advantage of this beneficial exercise at both of its locations.

Instructors focus on specific key benefits such as balance and fall prevention, muscle strength, flexibility, stress reduction, cognitive function and social engagement.

Mike Arnold, a certified tai chi instructor who teaches at the senior center in Albemarle, shared his views on tai chi.

“I’ve always had an interest in tai chi. When my wife Cathy and I relocated to Albemarle to help care for her father, I quickly realized I needed to find a reason to fall out of love with my recliner and stop watching so much television,” Arnold said. “In my search for a purpose, I came across the Albemarle Senior Center and was thrilled to discover your Tai Chi for Arthritis class.

Mike Arnold teaches a tai chi class at the Stanly County Senior Center in Albemarle. (Contributed)

“I began searching out opportunities to learn more about tai chi. I began taking classes at the West Stanly Senior Center and that led me to the Cabarrus County Senior Center. After exploring different classes and different styles of tai chi, one of my teachers encouraged me to become a certified instructor.”

In 2022, Arnold attended workshops hosted by a master trainer for the Tai Chi for Health Institute. He became certified to teach Tai Chi for Diabetes and Tai Chi for Beginners classes.

“The Tai Chi for health Institute does not provide certifications for forms not developed by Dr. Paul Lam (the founder of the TCHI), but they do provide training in many traditional forms,” Arnold said.

Arnold attended a workshop led by Lam on “Exploring the Depth of the Yang Style 24 Forms” and then trained in the “Yang Style 40 Form” at the TCHI annual conference in June.

“There have been hundreds of studies documenting the health benefits of tai chi, such as improving balance, alleviating stress, increasing flexibility and muscle strength and improving mental health, along with pre-existing health conditions such arthritis and diabetes,” Arnold said. “It’s also a great place to meet some really nice people and just have fun.

“I know this to be true because tai chi has greatly improved my life.”

Tai chi is offered at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Locust and 10:45 a.m. Wednesday in Albemarle.