Monday 23 June 2014

Exercise Can Be Fun

I'm a bit of a sceptic about mind and body martial arts and there is doubtless quite a lot of hocus spoken about many of them.

But I was long since convinced that Tai Chi had something going for it, having first seen it work ten years ago for hundreds of lithe and relaxed Chinese pensioners early morning in the parks of Paris and latterly among our own clients and staff.

It is also rather good for dealing with shyness and inhibition, I suggest.

"My advice to anyone who is fairly physically mobile, whatever your age, is to get into Tai Chi," says Paula-Louise Webb, a service user at Hafal Blaenau Gwent. "It's easy to get into and once you start you'll really get into it."

Hafal Mental Health Practitioner Malcolm O'Callaghan, who was certified by Grand Master Eddie Wu Kwong Yu in 2013, delivered a Tai Chi class at last Friday's Let's Get Physical! event in Llanhilleth, Blaenau Gwent. Visitors also took part in an exercise class, had the opportunity to have health checks in the mobile health centre and enjoyed a healthy lunch.

Malcolm said: "Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art and is based on smooth, coordinated circular movements. Known as 'meditation in motion' the practice of the Tai Chi form will help with the development of a relaxed body and mind. Research has shown that regular practice can improve balance, breathing, digestion and circulation and reduce stress."

Service user Sarah Jones added: "We're already into physical exercise at the project and we've done some Nordic Walking, Smovey Exercise and gardening as well as the Tai Chi. They actually make exercise fun and I never thought I'd say that.

"I think it's easier to exercise with other people because you're taking part in something and you motivate each other. Tai Chi is really good because it's not too taxing and you can also practice on your own. I hope the campaign gets lots more people involved in exercise and joining classes."

Are you enjoying this weather? You aren't the only one...

Rhys demonstrates the "supine cat" position under the supervision of Grand Master Huw