Stress busting, mood boosting
Lliswerry Heart Link based in Newport, Wales, offers its members a Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi group for relaxation and stress relief. It’s not surprising that these heart patients enjoy coming because being diagnosed with a heart condition can be a difficult and daunting experience.
Veronica Lewis, 72, is a keen participant and remembers why she first started coming: “a heart attack is a frightening experience – when you first go home, even the beat of the music panics you. You really think, ‘that’s it’. But I find Tai Chi relaxing, calming and also motivating.”
There are plenty of other health benefits too:
- improves balance and coordination
- improves joint mobility
- relieves stress
- helps you relax
- helps you maintain an active mind
- helps you to take time to focus on yourself.
Tai Chi is for everyone
Greta Hart is a BACPR qualified Tai Chi instructor who’s been running groups like this one for over 17 years. She’s a huge fan, of course, and says: “it’s improved everyone’s sense of self confidence and has helped them to live and manage their lives feeling much stronger and more relaxed.” Groups offering Tai Chi she says, "are especially accessible to those who may be intimidated by conventional gym and circuit based classes, but are in need of support and encouragement to move and exercise."
Mike Young, 66, can’t get enough of the Tai Chi classes – he even practices with his grandchildren when he’s at his allotment. Mike runs an allotment in his spare time and says having a hobby is the key to helping you through your condition. An allotment is a great hobby: it counts towards his 30 minutes of physical activity a day and from the greens he grows, he’s able to lead a heart healthy lifestyle too.
After the hour of Tai Chi, the group’s members stick around for a cool down and a well-earned tea break. It’s obvious from the smiles and the buzz of the kitchen that everyone is feeling refreshed and relaxed.
As Marina White, heart patient and active group member says, “It’s not just the Tai Chi that I enjoy, I love the company, which gets me out of the house. Give it a bash and you’ll see for yourself!”