Sixty something: The benefits of tai chi 18



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Hello sixty somethings. Back in September, SAS wrote about the benefits of Tai Chi. As a chronic sufferer with breathing problems, I will try anything that helps me breathe more freely. A fellow Tassie SAS member informed me of a place she knew about that had Tai Chi lessons. After meeting this lady and hitting it off, we decided we would both check this place out.  

It is in a community centre run by the Hobart council. I have mentioned this place in a previous article. Anyway, Debbie and I headed off to see if Tai Chi was all it was cracked up to be. Hey, you see people doing on the sidewalk, the beach and in halls, people of all ages so it can’t be that hard right? How wrong we were. It is incredibly hard if you happen to be uncoordinated like me, with one foot and leg bigger than the other. Although, I don’t think two perfect feet would have made much difference. We had a great time though and being women who don’t give up easily, we headed off the following week and are now committed to giving it our best shot.

What I really want to tell you about is the lady who takes the classes. Her name is Jill. Jill doesn’t actually do the Tai Chi moves anymore but supervises the rest of us and has someone who knows what they are doing to show us. Jill is 84 years old. Yes guys, she’s 84.

I asked Jill how long she had been doing Tai Chi. Jill, who was a school teacher for many years, has been practising Tai Chi for 30 years! She loves golf and tennis and her favourite tennis player is Roger Federer. She uses a walking frame now but her mind is still sharp and if we go off track a bit too much, the school teacher in Jill kicks in. Believe me, we are back on track in no time.

She describes Tai Chi as gentle but powerful exercise for the mind, body and emotions. I asked her if she believed it was good for breathing and she said it was extremely good for anyone with breathing problems. It also has benefits for arthritis sufferers and just about anybody.

That brought me to the question of men.  In a class of of over twenty people, there were no men. Jill says men think it is a “sissy” way to exercise.  She has not seen many men using this form of exercise over the years, which she says makes them “silly” as it works just as well for men as women. Jill says this form of exercise does indeed help your overall health and once you get the hang of it, you should try to practice for 10 minutes daily.

Jill is a remarkable lady. Time has slowed her down physically but this hasn’t stopped her. She says she loves conducting these classes, she loves the interaction. I asked her how long she planned on taking these classes. “Forever?” I asked. “Oh no, not forever,” she replied, but I had the feeling I was going to see her for a long time to come.

In the meantime, Debbie and I will give it our best shot every week, meet new people and at least enjoy our coffee and chat afterwards.  

Tell us, do you do tai chi or another type of exercise? If so, what is it?

Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. I have started to learn tai chai this year and my balance improved after just a couple of months.

  2. Luv Tai Chi, our local council here on the Gold Coast provides the lessons on Mon and We’d for 1 hr for free at Burleigh Beach, it’s totally amazing. Sadly my days at work stop me from attending now but will return soon. Fantastic exercise for anyone to do😃

  3. Burleigh Beach on a Monday morning (in the park). Gold coin donation. Heeeaps of people doing tai chi. Peaceful and beautiful and so healthy for us. I saw about 100 people there last time. (Hard to park that early as everybody loves the beach early AM)

  4. We have a guy at work that does it at lunch time in the courtyard & he also teaches it to anyone interested, & also teaches it at weekends, it’s a good way for people that have been sitting at a desk all day or people that have been standing in the same position for hours during operations, its a good mix of both men & women that do it.

  5. How good is that Lyn Bradford. Why don’t you join him at lunch?😊 Burleigh Beach sounds amazing

    1 REPLY
    • We do if we can get our lunch breaks at the same time as him, but a lot of times a lunch break for us is impossible

  6. Yes it’s a great way to improve balance, breathing, relaxation. And you don’t have to bust your guts trying to get up off the floor like I did trying yoga and Pilates!

  7. Its a bit like that Enid. I think its going to take me awhile too. I bought a book and practise at home.

  8. Have done tai chi a couple of times and would like to do it again, but there are no classes around here anymore.

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