3 Tai Chi Balancing Exercises For Seniors

The Key To Not Falling For Seniors Is To Strengthen Their Balance. There Is No Substitute


What is Balance?

For you to maintain your balance, you should be able to keep your body’s weight and center of mass within your base of support. That is true whether your body is moving or stationary. The second (it takes less than a minute) your body weight is displaced outside your base of support, you risk “tipping the scale” and losing your balance. Where your base of support is the area beneath you that includes every point of contact that the person makes with the supporting surface.

Improve your strength, flexibility, posture, multisensory function, coordination, reaction time, and balance strategies. Use these exercises to improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. Posture can change a person’s center of gravity and impact their balance and functional ability. In 1947, the Posture Committee of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) defined poor posture as a faulty relationship of the parts of the body, which produce increased strain on the supporting structures, and in which there is a less efficient balance of the body over its base of support.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai chi is a mind-body practice that involves a series of slow, flowing exercises that combine movement, meditation, and rhythmic breathing. It is a low impact exercise that can

 easily be done by seniors.  Although it was initially developed as a martial art, it’s commonly practiced as a form of “moving meditation.”. According to the principles of traditional Chinese, Tai chi is one of the most sophisticated methods of integrated whole-body movement. Tai chi is a workout that can be as strenuous and invigorating as aerobics, even though it can look easy, simple, and relaxed. You will likely use muscles that you didn’t know you had.

Here Are Three Tai Chi Exercises You Can Do To Strengthen Your Balance:


  Exercise #1: Tai Chi Standing and Sitting Alignments

 

 

 

  The Benefit Of Standing Alignment:

The standing alignment will build leg strength to support you while you stand and walk. It will

provide you with less wear and tear on your body and stop you from fighting against gravity. 

It also strengthens your spine. Good alignment stops dissipating energy.  Reinforces good

posture and eliminating long-term problems.

 

   Posture For Standing Alignment

  • Your feet are parallel
  • Feet are shoulder-width apart
  • Your weight is evenly balanced on both feet.
  • Do not lock your joints 
  • Your knees are slightly bent.
  • Your muscles are relaxed, not clenched, particularly the jaw, stomach, and buttocks
 muscles.
  • Your shoulders are relaxed and down
  • Your lower back is straight, perpendicular to the ground 
  • Your head neither tilted forward nor backward.
  • Your tail bone points straight down.
  • It looks like the picture to the upper right.

  

  The Standing Alignment Exercises:

 

  • For healthier seniors: Start with the posture above. Your feet are parallel and shoulder- 

width apart. Your knees are slightly bent, Your lower back is straight.  Your neck is lightly 

lifted. Stay  in this standing position for as long as you can.  As you stand your legs will get 

stronger, and your posture will not go out of alignment. When your posture gets 

out of alignment, you run the risk of getting out of balance. As you do this exercise more

and more, you will train your nervous system what is good posture This is a deceptively

simple exercise but as you do it over a longer time you will find out those parts that 

you are holding on and you might feel some pain. Just allow that to happen. Over time it

will go away. 

 

  • For seniors with a mild impairment or recovering from surgery: If there are some difficulties
 standing, you can use some senior bathroom aids like a grab bar for assistance. Maintain this
 stance holding onto a grab bar until you can do it without the assistance. As you do this

 exercise more and more, e but as you do it over a longer time you  will find out those parts

 that you are holding on you might feel some pain. Just allow this to happen. Over time 

it will go away. 

 

  • For seniors with severe impairments: If it too hard to stand, then 

proceed to do the exercises in a chair in the sitting position. Look

at the adjacent video to see how to strengthen your legs    

 

The Posture For Sitting Alignment In A Chair

  • Head lifted
  • Spine straight
  • Midriff Lifted 
  • Tailbone points downwards
  • Elbows bent
  • Palms on knees
  • Feet flat on the floor 
  • See the middle figure on the right. 

 

 

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 Standing Alignment

 Sitting Alignment

CAUTION: Consult a physician before doing any exercise.

This Video Shows The Seating Excercise

 

 

     Exercise #2: Tai Chi Weight Shifting

   What Is Weight Shifting?

 

  • Your goal is to shift your weight back and forth from one foot to the other in a smooth, relaxed
manner, and, as you do so, lift and lower the heel of the unweighted foot.

 

.  The Benefit For Shifting Weight:

  • Always know where your weight is and you will remain in balance. 
  • We become off balance when we don’t know where our weight is.
  • This also means being aware of the leg with no weight on it. You should feel

 your entire non-weighted foot on the ground.

 

 

   Posture For Weight Shifting Exercises:

  • Feet on parallel and shoulder-width apart
  • Maintain the alignment given above.in exercise #1
  • Shift the weight to one foot
  • The weighted knee is slightly bent
  • The foot with no weight in it should be touching the ground
  • Your pelvis glides across and does not move up or down, but shifts the weight
  • It looks like the picture to the right

 

 

   The Weight Shifting Exercises:

 

  • When done correctly, you will feel like you are pumping your legs up and down as if a riding bicycle.
Shift your body’s weight to one foot, keeping your weighted knee slightly bent. Gently exert pressure
through that heel. This will cause energy to drop down that side of your body. As you do so, move your
other knee forward and slightly lift your heel, while keeping the ball of your foot on the ground. This will
cause energy to rise on that side of your body..

 

  •  Sideways Shift: With your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, shift your weight to one leg. The
 non-weighted leg still touches the floor, and you can feel your entire foot. Stay in this position for
 2 minutes. Using your pelvis, then switch your weight to the other foot,

 

  • Forward and backward shift. Place one foot in front of the other. The heal
 of the forward foot should be close to the toes of the back foot. Keep the weight
in the back foot. Move forward and backwards shifting your weight. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 CAUTION: Consult a physician before doing any exercises

Shifting Weight

 This Video Shows How To Shift Weight

 

       Exercise #3 The Tai Chi Walk

   What is the Tai Chi Walk?

 

  • The Tai Chi walk starts with standing alignment, then placing your back foot forward 

until it completely touches the floor without any weight. Once you can feel the 

non-weighted foot  shift your weight to it. Then repeat on the other side.

 

    The Benefit Of The Tai Chi Walk:

 

  • This will build leg strength to support you.
  •  It will also allow you to work with gravity and not against it.
  • Helps maintain good posture and balance
  •  You always walk with a stable foot helping balance

 

       Posture For Weight Shifting Exercises:

 

  • Maintain the alignment given above in exercise #1
  • Shift the weight to one foot
  • The weighted knee is slightly bent
  • The foot with no weight in it should be touching the ground
  • Then shift the weight it 
  • Then repeat 

 

    The Exercise For The Tai Chi Walk:

 

  • Walking Forward: Start with your weight on one foot. Extend forward the non-weighted foot and place
it on it’s heel, The heel placed close to the toes of the weighted foot. Feel you entire non-weighted foot
on the floor. Then shift you weight into the non-weight foot. Keep in mind that your pelvis remains parallel o the floor. Then repeat with the other foot. Go as far as you can w. Also, keep

 in mind the Tai Chi rule of 70% of effort never 100% or more.

 

  • Walking Backwards: Start with your weight on one foot. Extend the
 non weighted behind you and place the toe near the heel of the

weighted foot. Feel you entire non-weighted foot on the floor. 

 Then shift your weight into the non-weight foot.

 Keep in mind that your pelvis remains parallel to the floor. 

 Then repeat with the other foot. Go as far as you can.

 Also, keep in mind the Tai Chi

 rule of 70% of effort never 100% or more.

 

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 Tai Chi Walk

CAUTION: Consult a physician before doing any exercise.

 This Video Shows The Tai Chi Walk.

 

 

Additional Tools  For Strength and Balance

 

 

If you want more advanced tools, here is a low-impact, low-risk way to enhance your balance. It is soft and safe way to practice.

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Use it for

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The Ultimate Recovery

. Innovative non-slip textured surface for safety and effectiveness. Embedded logo to prevent cracking and chipping.

 

 Exercise on the GO

with the included storage bag and exercise program.

 

Soft Balance Mat  

 

 

 

 

✓ IMPROVE STRENGTH & CONDITIONING – 

This wooden rocker board physical therapy is 

designed to stimulate your core and improve your

 agility, reaction time, and stamina, this low-impact

 exercise board is great for all.

 

✓ COMPACT, PORTABLE TRAINER – 

At 17.5” x 13.5” x 3” in size, our lightweight balance

 exerciser / fit tilt board can be used at therapy or

 training at home, the gym, or while traveling. A 

perfect standing desk accessory

 

 ✓ SLIP-RESISTANT SURFACE 

– The top of each rocker balance 

board features an easy-grip surface that’s gentle on bare feet 

but helps keep you in place safely and securely.

 

✓ STRONG, STABLE BASE

 – Made of high-quality Lauan hardwood plywood, stronger and last 

longer than others made of birch and pine plywood. This heavy-duty 

balancing board can hold kids and adults up to 320 lbs.

 

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– The workout board / core trainer is backed by unbeatable quality 

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Balance Board

 If you want more advanced tools, here is a low-impact, low-risk way to enhance your balance. This balance board has two bases to roll on so it is much easier and safer for seniors. 

These Falling Statistics

    • Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor.
    • Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
    • Falls Are Serious and Costly
    • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury,
    • Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.
    • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.
    • Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.
    • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
    • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
    • In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.
    • Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.

Additional Balance Exercises

The videos below are additional exercises you may or may not want to try.

Tai Chi Balance Exercises

Mayo Clinic On Non-Impact Exercises

Seated Exercises

Tai Chi Beginner Exercises For Strength and Balance

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