Tai Chi has become my new little obsession. And that’s a lot to say coming from me, someone who hates any sort of exercise known to man. So much so that even the free gym at work enticed me all of 3 days and 3 weeks into the new year I already skipped 70% of my morning-in-the-office gym time.
I know! Some of you would say, “oh you are so lucky to have a free gym at work! If I were you I would use it any chance I get!”. And I get it, you are hardcore. But – sorry! – I find the gym totally boring with a capital B. No amount of music in my ears will change that. What would you so if I told you we had 3 free gyms at my office? Such a tease.
Tai Chi is a relaxing and slow motion exercise which is what I love most about it. I have lots of stress and knots from a life less ordinary. It’s not to say that it doesn’t take muscle work. By the end of my hour I feel my upper leg and arm muscles more than usual. That because in Tai Chi you are prompted to bend your knees and use your leg muscles to balance correctly, and you only need to see one YouTube video to realise there is a hella lot of arm movement involved.
The wonderful thing is that it’s a free session in Aldgate for people over 55, and the team are nice enough to allow me to attend because I have a health condition and I just need the help!
There are on average 24 sequences to Tai Chi and Juliet our expert have put together a wonderful sequence (not all instructors do exactly the same) that I am trying to learn. It takes a lot of hand eye foot coordination and a lot of practice and patience. The movements really improve your balance, relaxingly stretch your body into comfortable forms, and the breathing reduces your stress levels.
What I also love is that the sequences are named after nature effects like “clouds” and “water” which make your mind wonder into an image of natural beauty. Doesn’t psychology tell us to think of a lovely place like the sea and the waves when you need to relax?
So how does it feel doing Tai Chi?
By the end of the session I must say I feel more relaxed and hence energised. It puts a little skip in my step! Now note that I never excercised in my life before and tend to also be anaemic. So even the light exercise of Tai Chi tires me, but it’s not rigorous enough to exhaust me and make me feel so uncomfortable that the enjoyment withers.
I know, the best way to lose weight fast is intense exercise and if you don’t feel exhausted it means you didn’t work out! I am trying to lose weight but I’m also wanting to increase my stamina and both slowly. I’m not in a rush, and having a health condition I want to have a balanced diet combined with a balanced exercise regime that suits me. And keeps me happy and enjoying it!
I once tried yoga and I can say if you are inflexible and have a body that has gone through the wars due to operations and dialysis since birth I can tell you now don’t do it. Firstly, it takes a lot or arm work pushing your body up away from the floor – imagine like a push up! – and that’s bad for your arm when doing dialysis. Also it’s a lot of bending your head down, slithering upwards and bending your back to an uncomfortable position. By all means if you want to become extremely flexible do it but you need to be patient and keep at it. If like me you feel in pain when straining yourself in these positions just find something else you will enjoy. Yoga is not at all an exercise I enjoy.
Tai Chi is so amazing I look forward to my session every week and that’s what exercise should be about!
Now I have to learn the sequence of movements. Wish me luck!
Love, the Incorrigible Islingtonite