Tai chi is a meditative exercise that flows slowly from pose to pose. Like yoga, tai chi is low impact, and it improves balance, strength and flexibility. It doesn't require any special equipment or clothing, but you'll need to take classes to learn the basics before doing tai chi on your own. Seniors can find classes at gyms, community centers or dedicated tai chi studios.
The focus on breathing helps improve concentration and reduce stress while the slow, flowing movements tone and stretch muscles, making tai chi an excellent low-impact workout. Tai chi's biggest benefit for seniors is probably the improved balance. Balance begins to decline as we age, and good balance helps prevent falls, a major cause of injury and death among seniors.
Since tai chi is gentle on the joints, it's excellent for seniors who are overweight or have knee, hip or ankle pain. The slow movements can gradually improve the strength and flexibility in these problem areas and help seniors maintain a healthy weight.