Easing Arthritis Pain with Tai Chi
By: Gloria Lappost, Health & Wellness Coordinator
For many years, the Area Agency on Aging for SWFL (AAASWFL) has been offering free Tai Chi for Arthritis workshops to older adults in Southwest Florida. The low-impact exercise classes were developed by Dr. Paul Lam at the Tai Chi for Health Institute and have been taught worldwide as an effective program to increase flexibility, strength, and balance in the aging population. Tai Chi for Arthritis has been endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation and is credited as an effective fall prevention program by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The workshop involves a set of Six Basic Movements and Six Advance Movements, taught over the course of an eight-week workshop. Practice focuses on controlled breathing, improved posture, and appropriate weight shifting.
Participants of AAASWFL’s Tai Chi for Arthritis workshops have not only seen improvement in their balance, they have also noticed changes in their general overall health as a result of their increased physical activity. Participants report an improved comfortability with increasing activity and continuing a regular exercise routine as a result of the program.
Beginning a new exercise program can be intimidating at any age, but especially so for older adults who have become increasingly less active over time. It is wonderful to see people regaining their strength and mobility through gentle exercises and physical activity. The positive changes to their physical and mental well-being are priceless.
In order to provide Tai Chi for Arthritis workshops at no cost to participants, AAASWFL depends on local community volunteers to become certified and lead the classes. Individuals who are interested in a volunteer position with the Health & Wellness department are eligible to become certified in any of AAASWFL’s Health & Wellness programs at no cost to the individual. Tai Chi for Arthritis certification involves a workshop-based training with a Tai Chi for Health Institute Master Trainer. The certification course allows prospective trainers to dive further into the principles of Tai Chi and of creating safe and inclusive classroom environments for future Tai Chi practitioners.
For more information on Tai Chi for Arthritis classes or on how to become a certified Instructor, contact the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida at (866) 413-5337.