Tag Archives: Tai chi chuan

Seniors, How to Stay Balanced!?

Unless we have regularly practiced some form of exercise in our life or have inherited exceptionally good genes, we will feel weaker in the legs as we get older. That is part of growing older and as the Chinese say, ‘old age starts in the legs’.
Helping to prolong one’s life with exercise is the solution, as well as also looking after oneself in other ways,
such as maintain good nutrition, fresh air, good, nourishing relationships etc.

How come old age starts in the legs?
Considering that our main support is the ground, the earth, we learn that being connected to it is vital in fact.

We are constantly and without interruption being ‘fed’ energy from the earth – as well as from the heavens – thus we learn in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Again according to TCM, some of our organs, like the stomach and the spleen, have the quality of the earth in them and are classified as being of the earth element, just as some others, like the lungs, have the quality of the air and are classified as being of the air element, while the heart is of the fire element. Our body comes from the earth and the ancient Chinese were quick to see, through being close to nature, its relationship to the different elements of nature.

So, yes, it is very important to keep our connection to the earth, if only by developing the leg muscles, which, being intimately connected with every other area of muscle in the body, play an crucial part in keeping the whole body strong and well-balanced.

Many of us have taken for granted the fact that the earth supports us, but in older age are surprised or accept it as a ‘fait accompli’ if we lose our balance, as if it were a natural part of growing old.

So we end up spending time in wheelchairs or having to hold on to a walking frame to get about.

A few years ago I approached several retirement homes to offer an exercise program for seniors, and I was shocked to see this state of affairs.

Most of the people there were hardly able to lift their arms without any help! (Of course I am not including some of us who’ve been unfortunate, having had accidents and needing to resort to extra outside help).

I honestly think it’s time for everyone over 50 who hasn’t already started some form of exercise to begin and keep up with it as a regular practice.

Although maybe we might have to try several exercise programs for seniors until we find one that is:

·        easy
·        where we feel we make progress
·        that makes us feel good, stronger, energised and relaxed at the end of a session

And may I suggest easy Tai Chi?!

I’d also like to mention that exercise helps us to be inspired and creative, but that will be the topic of another article!

To provide a means to generate well-being from within, Francoise Bonhoure, a qualified Seniors Exercise teacher (for Over and Under 50’s!), has created a comprehensive beginner exercise program.
By joining the membership for our ezine you’ll have access to free exercise videos and audios

Ideal Workouts For Those New To Exercise

We all know we’re meant to exercise more but let’s face it, for most of us the thought of slugging our guys out down at the gym for an hour after work is not appealing. Then you’ve got finances and time constraints to factor in. If you have a family to look after exercise really does have to occur when you have time to fit it in and gym memberships aren’t cheap if you’re not going on a regular basis. Here are three easy exercises that anyone can do regardless of their current level of fitness at a time that’s convenient for them.


Like yoga, Pilates takes the view that the mind and body both need to be exercised and strengthened. Pilates concentrates on the overall quality of the exercise rather than the quantity. This means you’re not performing the same movements over and over again (which is the part of exercise most of us hate). Pilates teaches correct breathing and helps you centre the body which is why it’s seen as such a good form of exercise for overall wellness. Of course its physical advantages are also easy to see, by concentrating on the overall quality of the movement and holding these positions you’re strengthening those muscles.  Pilates is about much more than just stretching, it’s about elongating the spine to lead to better posture and flexibility, although it’s been around for nearly a hundred years its only really stated to become really popular over the last ten years after been taken up by several notable celebrities.


Most of us learn to swim as children and it’s a valuable skill to have. It’s hard to live your whole live without going near water and although it’s possible to drown in just a cup of water knowing how to swim could save your life. It’s also a very good form of exercise, like Pilates it strengthens and tones your muscles. Unlike Pilates it is a very repetitive sport but the tranquillity of the water makes it another great sport for promoting calmness and wellbeing. It’s a very cheap exercise (of even free if you have access to your own pool) and the natural buoyancy of the water means it’s a low impact sport which reduces the chances of injury. If you haven’t swam in a while it’s very important you take it easy to begin with, although it’s low impact it does work almost every muscles in your body which can be susceptible to injury. Our bodies will naturally float when submerged in water so theoretically anyone can do it which is why it’s a great exercise for anyone new to working out.

Tai chi

Tai Chi is another great way of getting in shape if you’re new to regular exercise. This ancient form of Chinese martial art is hundreds of years old and is popular all over the world. Its proper name is tai chi chan and it’s designed to teach grace and balance more than speed and power. You don’t need anything in the form of equipment, all you need is an open space and somewhere you can feel relaxed. Tai Chi is great for stress management as it help teach proper breathing through a series of slow motion martial art moves. One foot will usually remain on the ground at all times and the slow motion movements and the ongoing concentration on the move itself lend to it being a very clam and gentle form of exercise.

If you’d rather take up swimming from the privacy of your own back garden checkout World of Pools and H20 Fun for a great selection of swimming pools you can install in your own back garden