Tai Chi classes help seniors avoid falls, deal with arthritis

In this 2014 file photo, Tai Chi students strike a Tai Chi pose at a class put on by Southeast Senior Services. (Juneau Empire file)

Alaska has the fastest-growing senior population in the nation, according to the Alaska Commission on Aging. Seniors now represent 17 percent of Alaska’s total population, with 6,281 of those residents being 85 or older.

Preventive health care can be a lifesaver for this population. Seniors suffer disproportionately from arthritis and falls. Falls themselves have hospitalized nearly 9,000 Alaskans during a four-year period from 2005-2009, according to a Department of Health and Social Services study.

Tai Chi, a gentle, low-impact Chinese martial art, can lessen the risk of both arthritis and serious falls, as well as improve strength, balance, coordination and help reduce chronic pain. In an eight-week class starting this Monday, Southeast Senior Services will teach those age 60 and older how to take advantage of the healing power of Tai Chi.

Registration is required but the twice-weekly classes are free. To register, call Southeast Senior Service’s Eileen Hosey at 463-6113.

Classes are Monday and Thursday, 10-11 a.m. at the Gruening Park Community Room in the Lemon Creek area.

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