Tai Chi - Anyone?

This morning on NPR there was a segment on Tai Chi and how it has been shown to help Parkinsons patients improve their balance.


I was struck by the statment: "When they finished, Li found that the tai chi patients were stronger and had much better balance than patients in the other two groups. In fact, Li says their balance was "four times better than those patients assigned to the stretching group and about two times better than those in the resistance-training group"

Knowing that so many BAF members have problems with balance, I couldn't help wonder how many may have already tried Tai Chi and whether it has been a benefit. Has anyone tried it? If so, was it helpful? If you haven't tried it yet, have you ever thought about trying Tai Chi?

This morning I looked at Tai Chi offerings in neighborhood centers here in Houston. I found a morning class not far from where I live. Soon, as a retired lady, I will be able to take advantage of it. :-) I often use a Wii Fit at home and I always get much worse scores on the balance games than I do on the Yoga, Strength or Aerobics exercises. Maybe the Tai Chi will help me to improve.

Please share your thoughts about Tai Chi.


Hi Carole...I donot do "Tai Chi"...but I know a few friends that do it...and find it so good for their overall "emotional and physical being"...I would love to do for my anxiety...unfortunately, I would have to drive to classes and that is my anxiety ..."driving" ...so I am just starting to slowly get back in the car drive...sometimes only making it around the block...inhibits me from doing many things...I walk twice a day and find that is my time to meditate and pray...also, do some yoga...at home...

Please when you start ... keep us posted on your progress...You are an amazing lady...

TGIF...Cyber~Hugs Colleen ~

Carole, I've investigate Tai Chi myself and found that it is thought to be an excellent exercise for balance and especially good for seniors to prevent falls. I've been investigating taking a class myself. I actually was introduced to Tai Chi when I was in Japan on business years ago -- My company had us take Tai Chi classes in the morning before our sessions -- so I actually did it for 2 weeks!

Thanks, Colleen.

I hope that you are able to overcome your anxiety soon. Each little achievement makes it possible to do a little more. So, take your time but keep on working at it. Doing your neck exercises to increase your range of motion will help both your actual ability to see out of the car to change lanes while increasing your overall confidence.

Since we have no children and no nearby relatives, we know that we've got to be able to take care of ourselves as we age. We both have long lived relatives, especially my husband. My mom is retiring next week!! Her retirement dinner was last night. :-) Would you believe, they have asked her to come back as a consultant!!!!

I also have some really good role models at church - ladies over 80 who are active, still driving, kind and good looking, too. They were trailblazers in their day. I tell them that they are my role models: I can't go back and be 25 again but I can aspire to be like them.

One of the ladies is 95 and still turning heads when she is in a room. She and her husband just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Another 95 year old has severe scoliosis but she doesn't let it stop her! She's always dressed in the latest fashions and ready to go with ample notice. She is planning to attend my retirement dinner.

So, you can see where my incentive and encouragement comes from.

Take care.


Hi Arleen,

I hope you are successful in finding a class. Wouldn't it be great if we could start a group and encourage those of us who can to try this and report back on our experiences. Maybe it can make our long term recoveries easier. And, since we are all aging -a Tai Chi practice might help us with that as well.

Take care.


Hi Carole...it is my biggest thing I must overcome...I am 47 years old and this is devestating to me...I have driven everywhere since the age of 16...even when hubby and I transferred with his jobs through the years, I would drive my vehicle through highways and cities and states...never a problem with relocating...I loved to venture in my car...when I had the anxiety attack in the car...it was right before they found my leaky aneurysm...it was the most awful feeling in the world...here I am crippled with anxiety when I drive...almost 1 1/2 years later...I walk places, taxi...I now drive me down the road to church, shop ... etc., but it has to be very close to home...I am such a loving and supportive husband...who knows I never give up...but I don't know how to push through what happens to me when driving and then if I have to turn my head to the right well that is when I get so dizzy...I can't even drive...like you, I could never have children...I have a home in Indiana and in Florida...my family is in PA...so it is me and hubby and some of the best friends a girl could have ... that understand and help me out often...because I am by myself...yes hard to have lost that independence, but not sure how to work through it...maybe one day...I never give up...I am a stubborn Irishwomen, but I don't get very far...Thanks for listening Carole...but it is one subject that makes me cry...because I miss out on so much anymore...

Carole, just wanted to let you know that my neuro psychologist suggested Tai Chi and Qugong, both are relaxing and help balance. Qugong is good for people that need to sit and mediate. I have tried both and like both. Also, I brought the cd tapes at the local bookstore. Thanks, Amy

Hi Colleen,

Let me share a story with you. It's a long one but please bear with me.

When I moved to Brussels I was deathly afraid of the traffic. They have a rule called "priority to the right" which means that the drivers coming out of small street had the right of way. The didn't need to stop for you. You had to watch and stop for them! Also, there are all of these roundabouts (traffic circles) . You rarely saw a stop sign or traffic light - except on major boulevards. You knew if you saw one it really meant stop.

Now my office was about 12 miles from my interim apartment and I'd gone 2 weeks ahead of my husband so I didn't have any option but to drive to the office on the next Monday. The relocation agent had driven me around for 3 days looking for a house. She also showed me how to go to the office. I wasn't about to take that route with all the roundabouts, trolley tracks and so much fast moving traffic. I paid attention as we traveled and later mapped out a way to go to the office avoiding the "big round about". On Sunday, after church, I pulled out the car and started on my way. Of course, I missed a key turn. But, I kept on driving, having to manage a lot of trolley tracks, UGH! I saw a sign that said "airport" and followed it because I knew the office was nearby.

As it turned out, it was a much more efficient route than the one I'd planned so I used it to go to work for the next couple weeks and started to get comfortable driving there.

Then, my next challenge. I had to go to a training course that was just past the "big round about". No avoiding it. But, I mapped it out and thought I had a good plan. and went on my way.

The plan worked on day one and on the moning of day 2. So, I felt "confident". My husband was now in Brussels so, on the way home, I stopped in one of those expensive shops you go to when you want to celebrate and bought steaks and all the trimmings for dinner. It was unusally hot in Brussels that summer and the car had no air conditioning. I was just thankful that it had an automatic transmission since most cars there are standard shift.

I started down the road, around the first curve, around the second curve and then got spooked by some cars coming from my right. I missed the key turn that was going to take me home without too much fuss!

After that, getting home was quite an ordeal but I had no choice but to keep going – through tunnels, around roundabouts, stopping to find where I was and checking the map to decide what to do next, stopping again to confirm that I'd gone the right way, etc...... By the time I got home my steaks were ruined and I was almost a nervous wreck. But, you know what - I survived. My instincts had kicked in and that day I mastered roundabouts! I had also seen a lot of the city including many of its monuments. Not only had I mastered round abouts, I knew a lot about how to get around.

I don’t suggest anything like this for you, but maybe once a week you might plan a trip that is a few miles longer than what you’ve done before or one that might require you to navigate a more complicated traffic pattern. You can plan to meet one of your good girlfriends who you know will meet you with open arms and cheer you on your success. And, who also, even if you don’t make it all the way, will come and meet you at some place where you are comfortable so that you can share the experience before going back home.

Colleen - Don't worry about crying. I have some other stories for later but I usually tell them like this - I did what any good woman would do, I had a good cry and then got moving!

Take care.


Carole, my chirpractor, separate from his office, teaches tai chi; when I attempted it, I was too out of balance to coordinate. Yes, I tried and tried; tho I did not have the vision coordination to see the training, nor the memory to practice some at home between sessions. One day, I will try that again. I do portions of yoga which I already knew; could not learn more of it either. Set aside for later.

When I began my vision therapy, I had a session a week w/daily homework; by the time I got home, I often forgot a new exercie. They would repeat week after week until I could coordinate a specific exercise. TG, I had GPS to get me home...

Hi, Carole, what good ideas you are espousing lately (I can't believe I remembered this word!).

I was told that I should do Tai Chi by a 94 yr old friend last year - she walks everywhere and does it to help her balance. She also told me of a book that was great that really helped her - I should ask her the name of it. I have had troubles with balance for several years not related to my annie - after I fell last year, breaking my fall on the terrazo tiles with my teeth.

I wish people were closer so that we could all go together - Colleen wouldn't have to drive, etc. etc.


Hi Pat,

That old adage is true. What does it take to succeed - practice, practice, practice. Along with telling ourselves, yes, I can - I think I can, I know I can. :-)

Let us all thank God that we live in the age of GPS and mobile phones.


Hi Sherri,

We can copy from Weight Watchers on-line and support each other virtually! We can plan our times and encourage and support each other in the follow through.

Let's see how many of us might be interested in starting classes in March. And, remember, we will take baby steps!

I'll let you in on a secret - I have always been a bit uncoordinated. I was the kid that got picked last in sports and then only because they needed me to make a team. :-) So, I do need to go to Tai Chi!


Hi Amy,

Thanks for your response. It's good to know that your neuro psychologist thought this would be helpul to you. What do you like most about Tai Chi? It seems like its easier to find Tai Chi classes than QiQuong. Was this your experience?


Carole- I love the advice you give to the people on this website.....You seem like a very caring, compassionate, successful and all around terrific person-Thank you

...and I'm glad you've opted to still be a part of this site...(...didn't you say you wouldn't be posting as often? ...or am I just imagining something?)


Actually Carole, I find both of them helpful and they are both slower that some of the other fitness stuff. If you are into mediation then try Qugong (I found a cd tape at the bookstore on both). It is slow and alot of it is sitting on the floor, so then I don't feel like I need to worry so much about falling over. The Tai Chi is faster and there is some bending so I am very careful with it. I try to do yogi and can't bend so much. Try belly dancing also, just don't bend to much, I love it... Thanks, Amy

Thanks a bunch Sherri...

You are such a sweet lady...! Have a nice Friday evening...Cyber~hugs Colleen