Seniors of all fitness levels filled the Creekside Seniors’ Activity Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20, to learn the slow, graceful movements of Fung Loy Lok Taoist Tai Chi.
“There are many seniors involved in the Taoist Tai Chi and we recognize that fact and honour it,” said Karen Broughton, one of the instructors in 100 Mile House.
Broughton said they invited the public to join them on Saturday to celebrate International Seniors Day, which was on Oct. 1. The Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi organization is officially celebrating the day on Nov. 7, so she said they chose a date between the two.
“We’re pleased to say we had an excellent turnout today.”
As dozens of seniors moved in unison, some sitting in chairs to accommodate physical restrictions, Broughton explained the health benefits of the controlled movements.
“These 108 moves on their own do constitute a full-body exercise,” she said. “Everything gets affected: tendons, muscles, the bones, the circulation, the heart loves it, the brain gets involved just, you know, remembering all this stuff.”
She said the moves focus specifically on the spine because “everything attaches to the spine.”
The circulatory system, the nervous system, the lymphatic system and the synovial fluid that keep the joints lubricated – it all flows through the spine.
She said many people find their arthritis pain decreases or even disappears.
“We do it because we love it; we want to share it with people,” she said. “We’re excited because we see changes in ourselves and see changes in other people.”
George Sinkler, who’s been a member since 2010, said Tai Chi has helped immensely with health isues he was facing.
“I had really bad back problems, which I no longer have. I had balance problems, which I was taking medication for for about seven or eight years, and I was able to discontinue that two years ago,” he said.
At 72-years-old, he agreed it’s uncommon to hear of health issues improving.
“It’s a direct result of doing Tai Chi.”
It’s a meaningful social practice, he said, and it’s become a major part of his and his wife’s life.
Bonnie Winter attends four classes per week, two in 100 Mile House and two at 108 Mile Ranch.
She called the movements “magical” and said they’ve done wonders in helping build her strength and improve the range of motion in her neck.
“I don’t know what I would do without Tai Chi in my life.”
But it’s more than the health benefits that attracts her to Tai Chi, she said.
“I come here for the Tai Chi and I come here for the friendship … it’s very meaningful.”
Winter said the response from those who came to Saturday’s event was “fabulous.”