Learn Tai Chi for Seniors: Tips and Strategies

Tai chi has been nicknamed the ‘longevity exercise’. And it’s never too late to get some longevity and to start tai chi. Here are some tips and strategies on how to learn tai chi for seniors.
senior tai chi

Start Anytime. No one should let age be an obstacle for beginning tai chi. Over half the practitioners start tai chi after the age of 50.

While you may not experience the same lifespan as the Chinese hero, Peng Su, who lived to be 800 years (even documented in imperial records), it’s possible to age gracefully and to improve your health through tai chi.

tai-chi-class beach
Take some tai chi classes. Learn tai chi and meet some interesting people. Sign up for a tai chi class or two, if you’re not currently enrolled.

Anyone who’s been to one can attest that tai chi classes attract individuals with a range of personalities, ages, and characters. Classes are a great place to meet folks, younger and older, with similar health and relaxation interests.

Use tai chi to help structure your day. Some find life after retirement to be incredibly fulfilling, while others are a bit bewildered without a daily job to wake up to. A regular tai chi practice can help to structure your day while improving health and longevity. Establish regular practice times and do your best to stick to them.

Don’t forget the 70% rule. The 70% rule applies to all tai chi practitioners: only do 70% of what you can do. This rule of moderation is especially important for seniors, whose bodies aren’t able to recover as quickly from strain or injuries.

Don’t push your body. If you have pain in an area, only do 70% of what you can do before you start to feel pain or discomfort. Trying to do more will create stress and tension in your body, and may even lead to physical injury.

Abiding by the 70% rule will give your body a chance to heal and to regain mobility.

tai chi elbow extension
Focus on Your Legs. Unfortunately, growing older also brings a growing risk of falling because of balance and coordination issues. Tai chi, especially in conjunction with simple leg weight shifting exercises can help with both balance and coordination.

Medical researchers have confirmed that regular tai chi practice can reduce both seniors’ risk of falling as well as their fear of falling. Focus on energy flow to and from the legs to improve your balance and mobility.

Take breaks or sit down. If you’re feeling a bit dizzy or unsteady, don’t try to push through. Take a short break before continuing.

After a pause, try sitting down and continuing through the form. Or, simply excuse yourself from the rest of the class. Don’t feel bothered or self-conscious about this. Simply listen to the limits of your body.

Have gentle goals. Don’t try to learn and to practice too many new moves. Understanding and retaining a few new moves each month can be a reasonable goal.

Be realistic. Decide what’s in your current range of abilities, and not what you could have done in your 20s. The slow but steady approach wins the tai chi race.

Tai Chi for Life. Boredom and isolation can be afflictions of old age, but they don’t have to be a part of your life. Tai chi can help with both, along with clear health perks to top it off.

Next: Read about warm ups and tai chi exercises for beginners.