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*Update* Tai Chi : a good exercise for the old or infirm?
Posted: 19 April 2011 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]
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From a discussion started on the daily thread. cheese

As many of you know, i am beset by a rather crippling chronic pain condition that makes it extremely difficult to get up and do anything.  I have lost strength and flexibility, especially in my legs.  Smerk has recommended Tai Chi (the formal exercise regime that uses martial arts moves at a slow speed) as a possible way to begin rebuilding or at least maintaining my flexibility/strength. 

One of the questions that comes to mind: How expensive is it?  Does one need any costumes/outfits or accessories?  Lessons?

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Posted: 19 April 2011 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Maybe you could try tai chi, Dave?  Still a martial art, with the same principles and whatnot, but non-contact, and very easy on the body.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Smerk - 19 April 2011 11:15 AM

Maybe you could try tai chi, Dave?  Still a martial art, with the same principles and whatnot, but non-contact, and very easy on the body.

I have actually really thought hard about it. (truth)  I find it a beautiful, fluid, graceful exercise.  Pure energy in motion. (Plus, if you get really good, I ,ahem, hear you get to play with SWORDS!) surprised  cheese

Since I have such a captive audience here, how would you rate the difficulty level of most of the routine?  (After all,  living the equivalent to walking/sitting around with a spear head/shaft run through your body from front to back at a 45% upward angle tends to cut a LOT of your mobility.) shut eye  LOL

ETA:
Maybe we should start a new thread for this conversation. For posterity and ease of search lookup, if nothing else. wink

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve seen 80-year olds with crippling arthritis practicing Tai Chi. It’s VERY low-impact. The focus is on the precision and fluidity of the movement, not the speed. Tai Chi teaches you to be physically *centered* as well, which can help with balance and stability issues. The movements *are* strikes, grabs, and throws, just slowed waaaay down. Still, in the event you need to defend yourself, you’ll find that doing them fast works just fine.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If you want to start a new thread, go ahead…

The beauty with tai chi is that you start off (at least with the way we structure learning in our academy) learning a move or two a week that are the basics for the rest of the form.  The thing most people have trouble with is co-ordinating hands and feet.  Our form does have a few kicks and some more…awkward moves, I guess, but they’re a lot further on in the form, giving you plenty of time to work up to them.  Plus, you only do what your body will allow you to!  So, no imitating your six-foot-plus instructor who’s been doing it for decades and can sit an inch off the floor.

And considering that a large number of our students here are 60-plus in age, and we’ve had a number of people who’ve had various operations (one guy had both knee-joints replaced), people with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and other arthritic complaints, one guy who’d been smashed up a couple of times in motorcycle accidents, people suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy…(the list goes on…)I don’t see why there should be any problems with you at least having a go.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Robin Bobcat - 19 April 2011 01:27 PM

I’ve seen 80-year olds with crippling arthritis practicing Tai Chi. It’s VERY low-impact. The focus is on the precision and fluidity of the movement, not the speed. Tai Chi teaches you to be physically *centered* as well, which can help with balance and stability issues. The movements *are* strikes, grabs, and throws, just slowed waaaay down. Still, in the event you need to defend yourself, you’ll find that doing them fast works just fine.

Heh…it even works if you don’t need to defend yourself… red face

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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*...takes note and adds tai chi to his Internet search database…* cheese

Yeah Smerk, we noticed how well all of those “defensive moves” have kept Acci at bay! raspberry

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Posted: 19 April 2011 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, be fair. You have what amounts to a tyrannasaur, with wings, that can breathe fire.. and you wanna add martial arts?

Of course, Acci might change his mind if she were practicing marital arts.. *eyebrow waggle*

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4. Personal testamonials are not proof.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Hey, if Acci wants me to practice marital arts, he knows where to find me…

daveprime - 19 April 2011 01:40 PM

One of the questions that comes to mind: How expensive is it?  Does one need any costumes/outfits or accessories?  Lessons?

Dave, I suggest you look round your area for classes.  Check local newspapers, phonebooks, and local community/recreation centres or gyms.  And whatever you do, don’t go for the Taoist style of tai chi, as it’s very hard on the body with stretching everything to the utmost limits.  Yang, Wu, Sun and Chen are the primary styles.

Fees - From what I’ve seen in the way of fees here, it’s around $100-$150 for a ten-week course. 

Clothing - You shouldn’t need any special clothing - loose, comfortable clothing, and a pair of flat shoes with a bit (but not too much) grip on them (can definitely recommend something along the line of skate shoes). 

Accessories - You may find it beneficial to pick up books/dvds/videos on tai chi (and again, you’d have to check what’s available locally), however studying from a book or dvd is probably better as a supplement to being taught by someone in real life.  The instructor can pick you up on all sorts of things that you might not necessarily realise if you’re self-learning.

And here’s a video of my grandmaster’s father doing tai chi.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dave, as with yoga movements are done very slowly and it is true that for some people certain positions that can be done if movement is finished quickly, some slow movements do take too long. 

The second video here is for beginners and one of the people is doing it from a seated position to illustrate needs from a wheelchair.  These are ones you really can do and just do them at your own speed.  If something brings on pain, let that movement go until you either work up to it, or if you cannot, then don’t do it at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNWPk6tYoUM - Tai Chi for Beginners
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiYFxzh0ol4&feature=related 5-minute Tai Chi for Health and Relaxation Part 1 of 2

When I started yoga I didn’t know where or what level I would fit safely into.  I bought a video for seniors and it turned out to be way to light for me and I have sent it along to my older sister.  However, to begin this kind of regime I have to admit it was really the best way to start.  So, look at the videos here and YouTube has MANY more for particular ages, levels and yes, for those who are disabled!  And these are free!

OH forgot, you don’t need to pay for anything.  Just dress comfortably!  You don’t need lessons if you can follow what the videos say and show you!  Just…..............start moving what you can!

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Posted: 19 April 2011 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m going to add something here I should have put with the other just before this one.  There are MANY times when an individual does not want to be involved in a class:

1.  timing of the class
2.  cost of the class
3.  perceived inability to keep up with others
4.  a need to proceed at a more comfortable speed
5.  a desire to feel safe in one’s own home.

Many years ago I owned and operated my own salon which was designed for people with disabilities, eating disorders, age, and unusual weight problems.  Because many of my clients had specific problems, I understood the need to feel private and non competitive.  Some of the routines I designed were to be done in the comfort of their own home.

Today Erik kids me that the living room and part of the family room are ‘Becky’s Gym’ because of equipment, DVD player etc.  Like my past clients, I prefer privacy…..........I don’t drive and feel no particular reason to join a class of any kind even though we did belong to the YMCA for awhile until I was able to slowly get the equipment I wanted for myself and which I use daily. 

I will be 64 next month (a birthday I’m really hoping everyone here just lets slide by please).  While I am not disabled, I surely do have some of the typical problems females my age have and some are not kind believe me.  I can tell you Dave that my yoga (which is still considered beginner) designed for flexibility, has made a HUGE difference in some of the problems I was having and as long as I keep to it, my pain has been cut by 75-80% which is….......significant. 

I have extra equipment ONLY because I also do other kinds of exercises but these are not necessary to your case at all.

There is no need to join a class
There is no need to spend any money
There is no need to do more than you are physically comfortable doing

Smerk and Robin, you are young (certainly at least by my standards).  Even while you suggest and show elderly folks doing tai chi, you need to recognize that it’s doubtful they either JUST began doing this at age 80 (even 60) or if they did, that exercise was new to them in another form.  And remember too that folks with crippling disabilities cannot often do some exercises that cause the body to hold a single position or slowly release that position if the ‘dance’ is designed to be slow motion.  These are things that can worsen some types of physical damage.  Slow movements must be done over a period of time when muscles have become both flexible and able to bear weight.

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Posted: 19 April 2011 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks for the info, guys. smile

i will certainly add this to my search roundtable. (I spend around 14 or so hours a day online.  If I sleep.  Otherwise its ALL day.) red face  LOL

I promise to take it gently Huli. truly, i have no real choice in the matter. LOL

The main thing I am looking for is a way to increase my flexibility/strength.  Every day is a battle because I am constantly tempted (due to the severity of the pain) to sit very still.  My pain doc and I have been working on regulating my activity level down to where i can exist on the meds i currently take. (400 odd mg of morphine a day plus lidocaine patches, e-stim, muscle relaxers, and since my O2 level is so suppressed, occasionally supplemental oxygen.  Yeah, I’m a mess. red face wink )  I have to fight the urge to be a slug somehow and start working my core muscles or I will be in a wheelchair soon. shut eye 

And Huli, 70-80% would be a GODSEND. gulp  No joke. hmmm (Heck 10% is worth most of what i own.

The truly frustrating thing is that I KNOW of a treatment that totally relieves my pain instantly, and keeps it away for 6-8 hours. surprised

Early on after the onset of the non-stop agony, I saw an ER doc from back East that was doing some teaching in one of the local med centers.  He gave me a ?‘bursitis’? shot above my left hip with a needle the size of a gun barrel. gulp  I didn’t feel a thing! LOL  And it WORKEDhmmm The first shots had lidocaine and steroids in them, but for a month or so, twice a week, I would go in for just a straight lidocaine shot.  (The nurses were always amazed that I didn’t react to the size/depth of the shots.  I tried explaining that the pain was so severe it masked any from the shot, but I don’t think they understood.)  The shots worked and worked well. Until. My insurance and medicaid refused to pay for such “experimental therapy”. mad  At $150 twice a day, I cannot afford it either.) downer

(There was also some concern that the lidocaine shots would degrade the surface/strength of the bone, but that had only been shown to occur with the mixed steroid shots in studies. no one has ever done a straight lidocaine study.)  So I make due with what I have.

Sorry to be so specific. I REALLY don’t want to come across as crying out for sympathy or attention.  Mainly I think that you folks are some of the brightest, most diverse peer group around.  Between Lama’s known credentials, and Acci’s apparently bottomless font of life experience/knowledge (not to mention all of the life/professional experience everyone else has around here) I figured that maybe we could come up with some fresh ideas.  After all, I have been fighting this daily battle for over a decade now. big surprise  shut eye

So thank you. Seriously.  Without you kind folks letting me whine/spout off around here, and then giving me something worthwhile to do throughout the dark hours, i really don’t think i would have made it through the last two plus year. {truth} So thank you.

Now then, back on topic:  If I practice hard/long enough, Smerk, do I get to swing around one of those shiny sharp things that I saw you using in a video last year? cool grin  LOL

-sorry for the horrid spelling etc-

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“Always, I Do What Is Necessary” - Rissa Kerguelen
Go to my Blog. It’s lonely.

I Am Still The Black Swan Of Trespass On Alien Waters
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