If you shudder at the prospect of sitting and meditating in silence, you may want to try Tai Chi. A series of fluid, dance-like movements that can be adapted to nearly any level of fitness and many physical limitations, Tai Chi is gentle on joints, yet helps bolster strength, improves both balance and flexibility, and reduces the risk of falls. Better yet, remembering the sequence of poses, and focusing on executing them precisely forces your mind to stay in the moment (which is a key aspect of meditation) rather than worrying about the future or ruminating over the past. And since a recent review of the scientific literature found that forms of exercise that require thinking or a learned skill appear to help preserve brain function as we age even better than more mindless activities, Tai Chi may very well benefit your brain, too.
Want to learn more? Read my Good Times story, and, ‘Discover the Benefits of Tai Chi.’
My heartfelt thanks to the interviewees who so generously shared their time, expertise, and experience:
- Pat Bradley-White.
- Dr. Linda E. Carlson, PhD, the Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Psychology and professor of psychosocial oncology at the University of Calgary. Dr. Carlson is also director of research and a clinical psychologist with the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
- Margaret Powell, an occupational therapist, psychotherapist, and Tai Chi practitioner in Toronto. Once an instructor at the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism, Taoist Tai Chi Arts, Powell has since left the organization.
- Mirella Veras, a physiotherapist at Coastal Sports and Wellness in Bedford, NS, and a Tai Chi instructor with LiveByTaiChi.ca Ms. Veras is also the author of Evidence-Based Tai Chi for Rehabilitation and Wellness: A System of Balance for Clinical Practice.