Tai Chi and Yoga are wonderful for older adults. They are both low-impact activities that focus on improving balance and core-strength, which can help reduce the risk of falling, as well as ease the symptoms of a variety of health condition. The movements can be adapted for people with different ability levels, or can even be done seated.
Unlike a traditional workout, Tai Chi and Yoga focus on precise movements that allow the body to slowly transition from one position to the next. Both coordinate the muscles, bones, heart and mind with the positive energy that surrounds the body. Benefits include improved balance, flexibility and general mobility, as well as increased muscle strength and a reduction in stress levels. The focus on breathing can boost both physical and mental wellbeing.
Ageing Well runs Tai Chi and yoga classes in both Somerset and North Somerset. Recently, they have expanded the number of Tai Chi QiGong classes they hold, as this simplified form is so easy to learn.
To find out more, please contact the Ageing Well team on 01823 345626
Find your nearest Tai Chi or Yoga class
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What people say about our Tai Chi classes
Dianne Ramsay is the Ageing Well Manager at Age UK Somerset. She recently visited one of the gentle exercise classes she organises and let us know about an inspirational lady she met.
Having popped along to the Tai Chi class, I met and started chatting to Anne* who agreed to let me take some notes on her experiences of Tai Chi.
Anne originally got involved with the Tai Chi class when she saw it advertised in her local village newsletter. She had been diagnosed with Osteopenia when she found herself tripping over a lot, and felt she needed to do some exericse. Osteopenia is a condition which means that Anne has lower than normal bone density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.
Anne was reassured that she didn’t need any special clothing or equipment, but at the beginning she felt very strange as she didn’t know if she could do it or not. However, her initial experiences were that it was relaxing and it helped strengthen her legs.
Now when she does trip, Anne finds that she is able to save herself from falling over completely: she doesn’t fall anymore.
Anne has found that she learns the movements quickly, sometimes she may forget them but is able to pick them up again quickly because of her sporting background at college.
The exercise and its benefits are not the only reason Anne attends the class: she also enjoys the social side of it and says, "The friendships that you make are so important - we always stay after the class for a cuppa and a piece of cake and all have a chat, it makes such a difference, especially if you live alone. We even have a couple that come all the way from Ilminster as the class is SO good!"
*Names have been changed.
I have been attending Tai Chi sessions for over three years. Our instructor, John Hough, can cater for our different levels of ability. The tai chi moves themselves are excellent for aiding balance and posture. My friends and I look forward to our Tuesday sessions, long may they continue.
I was recommended by my doctor to try tai chi as it would help with my stress, which I have had for more than 45 years, with depression. I have found it amazing and practise every day. It makes me calm and not so rush, rush all the time, going here and there. I have learned to take time and when I am in a stressful situation, I use my breathing. I also did that when I had a car accident – you can do it anywhere – and I stayed calm. I have also recommended it to other friends of mine. It certainly helps me and I wish I’d done it years ago….thank you so much for this.
‘Everyone was so friendly, Julia came straight over to welcome us and told us not to worry about keeping up, you can do your own thing, no one worries in the class’. ‘I definitely feel less creaky, my knee joints feel better, my breathing has improved and I now make a conscious effort to breathe more deeply, I have found it so beneficial, I’m sure I stand up straighter and have a better posture’.
What people say about our Yoga classes
Sara and Madeleine
Sara and Madeleine have both been coming to the class for over a year. Sara used to do yoga in the past but then couldn’t for four years and she now has some trouble with balance and uses a stick to help. Her friends were very enthusiastic about the class and encouraged her to come. Madeleine was looking after her mother for four years which took up a lot of her time and when she passed, she felt a bit lost. Although she was slightly apprehensive to enter a crowd of new people, “the class is a very friendly group and it gave me confidence to go to other classes too. It is a great opportunity to meet people in similar circumstances.” Occasionally during the class, they release stress by making intentional noises, related to yoga. They say they love this feeling of release. They both agree that their balance has improved and the whole class felt strongly that the yoga is beneficial for both your physical and mental wellbeing. It is a form of self-help in some ways and very worthwhile, whatever your physical condition. The class talk highly of their instructor, Anne, and appreciate that she remembers everyone’s names and individual needs.