As technology continues to grow and the population begins to age with medicine rapidly improving, the life expectancy has increased however people are in pain and are at the risk of falls. Falls is related to the loss of balance and stability in the body when conducting simple acts such as walking, climbing the stairs, sitting on a chair, getting up or even getting out of the car. Falls are one of the highest risk factors of damaging the bones due to old age resulting in fractures or broken bones. This can cause a person to lose confidence and independence due to the fear and trauma experienced by the individual.
Tai Chi is an exercise where balance and stability are the basics and foundations of learning to keep the body relaxed with an upright posture. Tai Chi based programs have, through medical research, proven to be a particularly effective falls intervention. It is for this reason The Australian Academy of Tai Chi & Qigong has developed an Applied Tai Chi Program that addresses specific aspects of balance and stability.
Specific focus on the key aspects below; and the teaching methodology being employed, makes these programs a very effective tool in balance and stability training.
Core Stabilising Muscles
Proper functioning of internal abdominal muscles and neutral alignment of the spine when performing tasks is a key component to good balance. AATC’S training methodology allows the ‘Local’ Core Stabilising Muscles to be activated through a combination of exercises and the use of Dynamic Relaxation techniques.
Rather than just postural alignment when static, AATC programs relate to energies pertaining to posture during movement. Eg: energy passing through the knee evenly; the order of muscles firing and control of the pelvic area. Excessive postural tension, kinaesthetic awareness and general motor-skill patterns are all addressed in this system of training.
Breathing – Abdominal and Reverse Abdominal
Abdominal breathing works directly with the autonomic nervous system and plays a key role in dynamic relaxation. The breathing techniques trigger the relaxation response within the nervous system. The lung diaphragm is activated, and with more training, the pelvic floor is also focused on. As one relaxes through abdominal breathing techniques the centre of gravity is restored to the lower abdomen instead of being incorrectly held higher in the body.
Dynamic relaxation combined with physical training techniques alleviates the fear factor. The fear of falling is a major issue when dealing with high risk of falls groups.
The biomechanical techniques being employed in tai chi training build muscular strength and physical stamina. Base of balance and state of mind are also issues that are addressed in this comprehensive program.
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