Tai Chi and the Senior Citizen

Woman practicing tai chi

Woman practising Tai Chi

Anybody who has been following this site will know it is aimed at the more senior age groups, with tips on weight loss, diet and exercise, plus I enrolled myself into a course of Tai Chi, to check if there are any benefits to be gained for the older age groups. Where do I begin, firstly I have had a couple of emails from people stating that fat people can’t do Tai Chi, well the same people probably find it hard to get up off the sofa, and always have a good excuse not to do any exercise. I am probably the fattest person in my Tai Chi class by a long way, and I have to admit that for me it is a lot harder than for some of the younger, slimmer, and much fitter members, but it just takes more effort, and practise. It’s very easy to say “oh it’s too hard” or “oh I’m just too fat for that” but like most things in life the rewards for achieving something difficult far outweigh the effort required to get there.

I am rapidly coming to the end of my first three month term of classes, and I have to say that my conception of what Tai Chi is about has been totally turned on its head. Before I began I thought that I would be able to learn the movements in a few weeks and then be able to practise them in my local park, in the same way as you see video of the Chinese practising outdoors. How wrong can you be, I now strongly believe that when you start Tai Chi you start out on a journey, and that journey can take you the rest of your life? It’s a journey of self discovery and development, with so many benefits for our health and well being that it is not surprising that this culture has survived from the late fifth century. To watch Tai Chi being performed by a teacher is inspiring, as their movements are graceful and flowing, and you look forward to the day when you can move in a similar way.

So what are the benefits for the more senior citizens, well I can only speak for myself, but like many people my age I had lost a lot of my joint flexibility, and the way my excess weight is distributed my balance was not too good either. I now have far more movement in my hips than I have had for some time, and also in my knees, actually all my joints have improved movement, all the stiffness has gone, and I can twist my body far more than I could. My balance is getting better, it was really poor when I started, but most of the problem is my weight distribution, too much of it around my stomach, but it is getting better. I think if you can walk without any problems and your arms still work you can benefit from practising Tai Chi, as it gives you a total low impact exercise workout, improves your breathing, it also really helps to improve your posture, and generally makes you feel good, but like most things in life the more effort you put in then the more you will gain. One thing I feel I must stress, if you want to try it, and I truly recommend that you should, find a class, just Google Tai Chi and your area, you will be surprised at how many classes there are, this really is important. There are books and even video and on-line courses but, I would say that unless you are a professional dancer used to checking movement and positioning using studio mirrors, then you really need a teacher to help you and correct any mistakes you are making, as getting the movements wrong can be totally counter-productive.

Fat Loss Workouts.

Cycling for Fitness

Cycling for Fitness

An important fat loss truth is that fitness only comes with physical training. Perhaps we resent spending long hours at the gym, we may hate cardio exercises and aerobic sessions, we could even try to develop fat loss workouts at home, but the truth is that 90% of dieters act chaotically when it comes to training for weight loss. People don’t know how to create efficient fat loss workouts, how often or how long to train. Mistakes even abound in the use of gym machines.

Inconsistencies and disagreements appear between professionals on numerous occasions. Some trainers say that there are very rapid sets of exercises precisely designed as fat loss workouts, while others call such techniques inefficient and stick to traditional training models of 60-minute sessions, three times per week. The problem is that everybody claims to be right, every program author brings scientific evidence and lots of testimonials in support of his/her theory, and only adds up to the general misunderstanding. In fact, it seems that confusion characterizes the nature of fat loss workouts by now.

In case you no longer know what to believe, a physical activity that you enjoy will be the perfect alternative to fat loss workouts. Swimming, cycling, jogging, walking, stair climbing or hiking are fine examples here. Or maybe you play football weekly or you take dancing lessons. It’s perfectly okay as long as you don’t develop a sedentary lifestyle. Yet, do not assume that some physical activities now and then will do for weight loss. There needs to be a permanence or a routine to compensate for fat loss workouts.

Now, if you nevertheless decide to stick to a certain type of fat loss workouts, because of the way that a certain program appeals to you, make sure your efforts have the desired outcome. The major risk of fat loss workouts is that routine generates a physical plateau. This means that you lose weight up to a point and then no progress occurs because the body has already got used to the effort level. Cyclic training should solve this problem.

Let us consider sit ups and crunches for example. They are excellent for the toning of the abdominal muscles, and they could help you reach a good fitness level if performed correctly. Yet, you will constantly have to increase the number of reps so that the extra effort forces the body into further progress, and you continue to lose weight or maintain your good physical shape.

Isometric exercise or Tai Chi?

If you are looking for an easy type of exercise that anyone can do, isometric exercises may be for you. Isometric exercises are exercises in which there is no visible movement done during the exercise. Yoga, as well as many other forms of exercise, make use of isometric exercises to help strengthen the muscles of the body.

When you are learning isometric exercises it is important to acknowledge that these forms of exercises are resistance based exercises. This means that you are resisting a form of pressure, which then builds your muscles. By maintaining the same position, you are forcing your muscles to work harder. This can have the same result on your body as forced motions, such as running, walking, aerobics and many other cardiovascular exercises. The primary difference between these exercises and isometric exercises is the fact that you can do isometric exercises anywhere at any time.

In yoga, as well as some other meditation based exercises, isometric exercises are done by resisting the forces of your own body. For example, the motions of pressing your palms together, and exerting force is one of the basic isometric exercises that is used in yoga. You can enhance these isometric exercises by using body positions that make maintaining this posture more difficult. By doing so, you can exercise your entire body without moving. These isometric exercises can be done by anyone, even those with severe handicaps.

When you are learning isometric exercises it is important that you do not stress your body too much. Like other forms of exercise, it is possible to strain and injure your muscles if you are not careful. When you are performing isometric exercises, take your time and approach them cautiously. If you feel pain, you should cease the exercise. Pain is a way that your body is telling you that something is wrong. If you are in pain, you may not be performing the isometric exercises properly. However, pain is not the same as muscle strain and sore muscles. Your muscles will become sore from doing isometric exercises. What you want to avoid is the sharp pains of active injuries rather than the soreness of muscles being used.

If you have never done isometric exercises, it is possible to learn them without assistance of a teacher. However, if you are new to exercising, you should have someone spot check you while you are learning the exercises. Doing this will prevent you from learning bad habits that could cause injury to your muscles and bones.

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Tai Chi

Tai Chi: For Fitness, Health,and Longevity

Isometric exercises are a benefit to all age groups, but as we get older we also need to keep ourselves mobile, and as well as isometrics you would really need to walk, cycle, or swim at least three times a week, or there is something you have probably never even thought of. I am talking about Tia Chi, which is an ancient form of Chinese exercise, that strengthens the body, calms the mind, and balances the bodies energy. The exercise uses slow and graceful movements, increasing ones awareness, health, and longevity, which is now practiced by people of all age groups all around the world. Although Tia Chi is perfect for our modern times, its roots go back over 1200 years, and is linked to the monasteries of the Buddhist and Taoist monks, and also the now famous Shao Lin Temple, so I think we can all be assured this system has stood the test of time. Tai Chi also has roots in Traditional Chinese medicine helping to balance the bodies energy by enhancing the flow of “chi” as it moves through pathways called meridians. Tai Chi’s benefits have been studied in China for hundreds of years. However, Western medical research is rapidly discovering what Chinese medicine has long realized. Tai Chi provides more health benefits than any other form of exercise. When practiced regularly there is wide range of benefits. It is an exercise that enables the practitioner to realize a high level of wellness by promoting physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. The slow, gentle and relaxing movements of Tai Chi are good for stress reduction by helping eliminate stress and its negative impact on the body. It has also now been proved that Tai Chi can help, improve your cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure, enhance the body’s natural healing ability, and enhance the range of motion and joint mobility, all being advantageous to the older generations.

If you would like to learn more about Tia Chi, and take advantage of all the benefits of practicing this form of exercise, I can highly recommend a good book Yang Tai Chi for Beginners, by Master Yang. Dr Yang explains how Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of moving meditation with ancient roots in Chinese martial arts. In this program, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming teaches you the traditional Yang-style form step-by-step, while explaining the meaning of each movement. His teaching is easy to follow and will soon have you reaping the benefits in practicing Tai Chi  with improved health and well being, but it is recommended that you first take a beginners class with an instructor to get you started properly with your stance and forms.

Flexibility Exercises


Improve Flexibility by Stretching

If you suffer from stiff muscles, flexibility exercises may be what you need to help you loosen those muscles and enjoy a nicer range of flexibility. Unlike standard forms of exercises, flexibility exercises are designed to help you lengthen your muscles. Flexibility is often a measure of how tense your muscles are on your bones. The more flexible you are, the looser your muscles are on your body. By using flexibility exercises, you can enhance your flexibility without damaging the muscles. There are several things that you need to keep in mind. Flexibility exercises can be dangerous if you are not careful with how you do them. Due to the fact that your goal is to lengthen and stretch your muscles, incorrectly performing flexibility exercises can cause severe muscle damage. Muscle tearing and strains are commonly injuries to those who are not careful about how they go about their flexibility exercises.

The key aspect of doing flexibility exercises correctly is to never move in jerky, fast motions. Every move you take should be done gradually so you can feel how your body responds to that action. While sore muscles are a necessary part of exercising, there should never be any sharp pains. If your muscles start to hurt, you should ease back and find the right place where your muscles are just beginning to feel the strain and sustain that position. This is a core aspect of flexibility exercises, as it is what encourages your body to allow the muscles to safely lengthen to allow for more flexibility. The changes will be gradual, but over time, your body will respond to the flexibility exercises you are doing and give you the higher level of flexibility you have been after.

Like with other forms of exercise, you should mix your flexibility exercises with other exercises. In order for your new flexibility to not go to waste, you need to have strong muscles to support that. Being more flexible is not a good thing if you are unable to have the strong bones and the muscles to back it. Being flexible can cause injury if you suffer from weak muscles. You need to balance giving yourself more flexibility with pure physical strength. This will ensure that you do not put yourself at unnecessary risk of injury.

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If like me you fall into one of the older age groups you need to take care, because your joints can start to get stiff, you can start to suffer from the beginnings of arthritis, and if these things are left unchecked, it can seriously start to effect your mobility, and therefore your overall quality of life. Last year I was suffering with my sciatic nerve, which appeared as if it was my hip joint, and I was far too heavy for a hip joint replacement, in permanent pain, and quality of life just didn’t exist. Once we realized what the problem was, some simple stretching exercises started to help, and at night sleeping with a pillow between my knees to take the pressure off really helped, and I was soon back to normal. One thing that happened was, it made me realize what we take for granted, being able to walk and climb stairs normally without pain, and generally being able to get around, it really is precious. The fact that these days we are living longer, it is important that we keep ourselves fit, so we can reap the benefits, and to achieve that we need a sensible diet and plenty of exercise.

As we get older there are 12 flexibility exercises which we really need to try and they are: neck stretch, shoulder stretch, shoulder and upper arm raise, upper body stretch, chest stretch, back stretch, ankle stretch, back of leg stretch, thigh stretch, hip stretch, lower back stretch, and finally the calf stretch. If you visit the following site you will get all the information in picture form on how to perform each exercise correctly, plus lots more to help you keep fit, healthy and very active. All the information on the site is totally free and you don’t need to sign up to anything, so make the most of it and stay healthy.       http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseandphysicalactivityexercisestotry/flexibilityexercises/01.html           

Fat Burning Workouts.

Fat Burning Workout

Fat Burning Workout

Everyone today turns to diets in order to lose weight. Similarly the other easy way to lose weight would be to burn these calories! And the best way to do that is with the use of an exercise program. Whether you decide to choose to buy one of the many different exercising machines in the market or choose to try out certain fitness work out programs, the choice is all yours.

One great option would be for you to join a gym. This has several advantages. While being able to try out different exercise machines that will help your body in different ways, you would also have a trainer to guide you. Having a fitness trainer really helps, as he/she would help you keep to your work out routines, and you will be better disciplined with someone watching over you.

You would need to burn more calories than the amount of calories that you take in. The best fat burning workouts will achieve this easily. It would take you a lot of energy and effort to see good results.

When it comes to fat burning workouts, there are different options for both males and females. This is because our bodies are structured differently, and what would work for a man may not always work for a female body. You could also choose to burn the fat in just certain places of your body, by choosing fat burning workouts that deal with those particular areas.

Fat burning workouts can also be found on video, if you are unable to visit a gym regularly. These videos will help you burn fat and lose weight with the help of a professional instructor who will guide you the work out session. Whether you decide to use a treadmill or go for a jog outside, cardio workouts have also been known to give great results. All you would need is 30 minutes in a day to have a good proper workout. Do not start off with high intensity fat burning workouts as your body may not be used to it just yet.

The key to seeing good results from these fat burning workouts is to be consistent at it. You cannot expect to be involved in fat burning workouts for just a week and then discontinue them as they are a long term process. You must also keep an eye on your calorie intake. You must eat healthy. Exercising alone will never be as effective as combining it with a healthy well balanced diet.

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As we get older high energy fat burning workouts might not seem quite as appealing as they do to the younger generations, but we can still make them work for us, but with less high energy and impact. Walking is very good, but if you considered power walking for thirty minutes just three days a week, it will really improve your overall fitness and help you lose more weight. Can you remember back to those heady days of youth when skipping was a regular pastime; well this would be a good exercise to take up again, as you can go at your own pace and gradually build up your heart rate. Another very good workout is swimming, as it uses all your muscle groups, and again you can go at your own pace. The important thing is to keep at it, vary what you do so you don’t get bored, and enjoy yourself, don’t make it a task, because at the end of the day it is helping you achieve your goal of better health and weight loss, without the need of high energy fat burning workouts.