T´ai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese martial art. Usually referred to in its shortened version ‘Tai Chi’ it resembles a combination of Yoga and Karate. Slow controlled and graceful movements combined with breathing exercises and meditation improve coordination, strength and relaxation.
The following exercises may be adapted for those who lack full mobility but are able to sit and have upper body movement.
Try these two gentle exercises from a seated position that we detail below and see how you get on. There are several others that can be carried out, also from a sitting position, once you feel that you are making progress.
Sit with the palm of your hands held together just above your lap opposite your solar plexus, as if praying, with your fingers pointing directly upwards.
While taking a deep but controlled breath in and expanding your chest, raise your hands to their fullest extent above your head, still keeping the palms pressed together.
Begin to exhale slowly as you part your hands, still keeping the arms straight lower them to either side of your body until they are horizontal.
Keeping the arms fully extended push them back as far as is comfortable, using a circular motion if you wish.
As you do this your back should arch away from the back of your chair.
Return your hands to the prayer position in front of you.
Repeat as many times as feels comfortable but we advise no more than five times initially until you get used to the exercise.
Sit with the palms of your hands resting comfortably on your upper thighs.
Inhale slowly and expand your chest as you fully extend and push your right arm straight upward, palm facing the ceiling while at the same time extend and push your left arm down, palm facing the floor.
Control your exhalation as you slowly return your hands to their original position on your thighs.
When you have finished fully breathing out, tense your tummy muscles and diaphragm and hold the position.
When you have to take another breath lift your left arm up and push your right arm down.
Build up from ten repetitions to start with.
The more control you have over your breathing and movement the better these exercises will help you to tone up your arm and abdominal muscles, increase your lung power and help your waistline. Imagine that you are pushing or lifting against a weight that increases a little every time you work out.
Care in what and how much you eat is as important as exercise in keeping the body fit, healthy and looking good.
It is always advisable to consult your medical advisor before undergoing any exercise routines