TAPS members enjoying the piano in the Canyon Street Walkthrough.

TAPS members enjoying the piano in the Canyon Street Walkthrough.

Tips from TAPS: Tai Chi, music and more keep Creston seniors fit and healthy

Web Lead

Barry and Judy Freeman have been leading Tai Chi classes with seniors at the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors for many years. Slow, deliberate repetitive movements based on co-ordination and relaxation rather than muscular tension typify Tai Chi. Judging by the regular weekly attendance at TAPS, it must be worthwhile for our seniors, who range in age and physical abilities.

When I asked Barry for input on the column this month, he gave me an excerpt of an article entitled, “Tai Chi Named as Perfect Exercise for the Elderly”. With the popularity of Tai Chi around the world for all age groups, I continued reading out of curiosity to hear what the authors had to say about proclaiming the specific benefits for an aging population.

In a Hong Kong study, researchers found that older people who regularly performed the traditional “mind and body” technique were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger. They assessed 65 elderly subjects, 29 recruited from local clubs, who had each practiced the technique for at least 90 minutes a week for three years and 36 controls with no such experience. The Tai Chi subjects were superior in almost all medical observations. Pulse measurements showed improved expansion and contraction of the arteries — known as arterial compliance, an important indicator of heart health — which was 40-44 per cent higher in the Tai Chi group, and they had greater than average muscle strength and increased knee muscle strength.

My Tai Chi instructor, Lin Martin, a couple of years ago asked us to consider how vital this would be for maintaining our ability to get up and down from chairs and of course toilets! Dr. William Tsang from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, who led the research. said that the improvements, especially in arterial compliance, could have resulted from the combination of aerobic training, stretching, mental concentration and calm during Tai Chi movement. Thanks, Barry and Judy, for your volunteer work all these years!

Krafty Krony pies continue to be a popular item, especially with this season’s fruits coming in and our freezers filling with donated fruit. Remember to mark your calendar for a KK tea and craft sale, along with a special teacup silent auction and sale of “upcycled” cups on Nov. 1 at TAPS (402 22nd Ave S.). Yes, pies will be available, and a diverse list of beautiful and practical items handmade by the Kronys and TAPS seniors will be on display, as well as goods made by other vendors joining us for the day. Proceeds from the Kronys are donated to TAPS for its ongoing programs.

For October and November, a local history series will kick off with a weekly guest speaker, and topics including geology of the Creston Valley, First Nations of the Creston Valley and geography.

The TAPS weekly choir and band, along with so many others. enjoyed being able to sing at the outdoor piano at the Canyon Street Walkthrough park on a couple of sunny days. Thanks to the Creston Rotary Club for making this great addition to our street life!

Come visit us at our booth at the Health and Wellness Fair on Oct. 18 at the Creston and District Community complex. We’d love to meet you!

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.