-By Vanessa Snyder, Fitness Coordinator, The Village at Penn State
The Village at Penn State offers a vibrant lifestyle to residents at our university-based retirement community in State College. Tai chi classes are a great way for older adults to maintain their health and wellness; one of the many ways seniors here stay active year round.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition, performed in a focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that the body is in constant motion.
Tai chi is ideal for seniors, because it is low-impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels.Tai chi helps reduce stress and anxiety. It also helps increase flexibility and balance. Tai chi was originally developed for self-defense and has evolved into a graceful form of exercise that’s now used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. It is often described as meditation in motion and promotes serenity through gentle flowing movements. Tai chi is very inexpensive and requires no special equipment and can be done indoors or out, either alone or in a group.
As Fitness Coordinator at The Village, I teach all of the resident exercise classes, work individually with residents for personal training sessions, organize resident health and fitness events as well as work closely with employees on their health and fitness goals.
We offer Tai Chi classes at The Village on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings in the Lion’s Den. First-timers are encouraged to try a class, as meditations are easy to learn. Village residents love the class so much that they encouraged me to get my formal certification, which I completed in December 2013!
I love working with the senior residents, instructing exercise classes and promoting health and wellness at The Village. With all of the joy it brings me, I couldn’t ask for a better place to share my days. Our residents have a true passion for living healthy lives and a very special place in my heart.