If you’re anything like me, you may have spent much of your life either in contact sports or in work that involved poor posture or positions of stress.The damage is done, now what? Thank goodness exercise doesn’t come in just one package. Many people put on plenty of pounds of fat, or their joints get stiff. They quit working out due to pain or poor self-esteem
. The average person puts on 7-10 pounds every three months, and I can assure you, it is rarely lean muscle. If you put on 10 pounds over the holidays, and you already wanted to lose 10 pounds prior to the holidays, then you now have 20 pounds to lose!
The smartest thing to do would be to continue workouts. Most programmes rightly suggest you try to do some extra cardio, and take control of your food intake and alcohol consumption. But what about the people who, for one reason or another, cannot continue with cardiovascular workouts?
Is there an alternative?
Many people, athletes included have been attracted to alternative programmes of Yoga,Pilates or T’ai Chi and after the initial introduction to a slower, more controlled programme, have appreciated the benefit of these forms of exercise.
Many people fall into the “Trap of Tomorrow.” The trap of putting off things that should be done now, but “promising” ourselves that we’ll do it at a later date. More often than not, the Trap of Tomorrow means not attaining the goals that are truly important to us. Studies have shown that up to 90% of people who have the best intentions of working out tomorrow, next week, or next month never actually get around to it and fail to reach their goals.
Welcome to my series about T’ai Chi . I saw a great quote from Lea Genders (http://www.runningwithollie.com/2013/07/active-in-fort-worth-series-fun-on.html#.Uff6yaxG3gs) “I love the idea that exercise doesn’t have to feel like exercise.”
I grew up a fat kid whose saving grace was he could play a bit of football. How many of you remember the time when a game started at 10 am on Sunday and finished when the sun went down? How many of us thought that all that running was exercise?I didn’t realize it then, but we were exercising. It wasn’t boring or a chore and we were rarely stiff on Monday. So, what did we do on Monday to Friday? We went to school to play football at break time, double football for games lesson and then in the evening football training ready for two games at the weekend. A few of us managed to fit in two evenings of boxing training and a fight. “I love the idea of doing the kind of fun stuff that burns calories, that gets you moving, but has nothing to do with a formal training plan.” (lea Genders)
All of this went on until I left school at sixteen and began to play football at a more senior level where training (for me anyway, became about sweat, nausea and pain.) I was never a skilful player but I could run all day and I’d built up the ability to train hard. It was a routine I followed through pain, botched operations and further injuries until 1998 when mu body virtually gave in. I was unable to run, stiff and going downhill rapidly.
Then I found T’ai Chi and two years later Shiatsu Therapy. Since that date I have practised daily alone and in classes until today where I’m working as a Personal Trainer and Corporate Wellness Practitioner at the age of 63. I am going to talk about the weekly progress I and my friends make as we continue to gain and maintain levels of fitness we never thought possible again I’m inviting you to join us to supplement formal training and blog about them as part of a new series: T’ai Chi Exercise. So if you’r new to exercising, looking to rehabilitate from injury or even build muscle endurance, flexibility and relaxation into your present regime these are great ways to just get out there and get moving. “And if you are reading from somewhere else on this great planet besides Kenilworth, I am sure with a quick internet search you can find similar activities and locations in your own home town.
I will be joined by members new and old who want to add to the experience of exercise. Suddenly people moving in harmony but, and this is the beauty of T’ai Chi, not conscious of each other particularly.
In the session we simply “Stand Still” while we breathe quietly to bring tranquillity and prepare us for the day. Then the first movements begin:
T’ai Chi exercise should always start with what I call “grounding” where my breathing and my intention are focused down through my core, my legs and feet and into the ground. This relaxes the upper body and allows for free movement.
Why T’ai Chi ?
I know that T’ai Chi has allowed me to find a level of flexibility way beyond the level of my younger years and learned a discipline that will stay with me for the foreseeable future. But is that enough to bring even martial artists, athletes and the general public along? Probably not. But, fused with the challenge of Makka Ho stretches and focused breathing it certainly is. Anyone who has seen the work knows the physical and mentally challenging of completing a class can be. Anyone who wants to know more should ask themselves a couple of questions:
- Would this level of flexibility improve my mobility?
- Do I have the discipline to attend regularly?
- Do I have the physical ability to complete the workshop?
In other words have I got the ability and the discipline to really test myself no matter what level of movement I have now?
Introducing Ernie Boxall
Ernie teaches T’ai Chi and exercise in and around Coventry and Warwickshire, his classes are always a challenge and there are many different class levels to suit all needs including:
- Go into depth about how T’ai Chi opens and transforms your life.
- How the seeds are planted in the very first class you attend.
- How the seductive power of T’ai Chi is an addictive calling to go deeper into yourself.
Everyone knows that T’ai Chi works on more than just the physical level but most people are restricted to focusing on the methods that have always been thought of as fitness sessions . Many professional athletes and even contact sports clubs have looked at the practice for a few years now and have enjoyed the benefits of a complementary programme . Can you really dismiss the chance to learn more about this now?
“Learn How To Move More Easily”
So what else has the “Learn How To Move More Easily” class got to offer?
- T’ai Chi Exercise sessions will concentrate on the techniques of coordinating movement with long slow breathing to expand the lungs, strengthen the legs and relax the upper body.
- The Makka Ho section will teach you a set of flexibility movements that will open up your joints and learn a routine of regular exercise which can be translated into any routine you already have. We will also go into some of the psychological aspects of the work.
- The T’ai Chi form will be sixty minutes focusing on a form which has it’s basics in martial arts and is not the “easy option” of exercise many people think it is. Why do so many people marvel at the “old people” moving so strongly in the parks of China and many other countries? It’s as if they think the practitioners have only just taken up the practice in their old age.
Again, ask yourselves these questions:
- Will the balance and coordination I’ll learn help me move more easily?
- Will the practical flexibility work improve the number of years I am mobile?
- Can I have the level of smooth movement shown by the T’ai Chi teacher on the course?
6 questions that will decide whether or not you take a look at what we have to offer.
What’s easier for you? To come along and work with two movement experts or do nothing about challenging yourself and learning how to improve your sports fitness and your general health at the same time?
T’ai Chi Exercise is your chance to learn how to move more easily, and continue to move more often.
Balance Health & Fitness