Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tai Chi and Me

I've been searching for some kind of exercise that I can do while in this dumb stupid knee brace; and a type that won't leave me crashed in bed for two days after. Swimming doesn't work for two reasons: 1) My lower back hurts after swimming irregardless of what types of strokes I do, and 2) Taking off my brace which requires undoing oodles of velcro straps, then taking off my clothes and THEN putting on my swimming suit leaves me exhausted even before I get into the pool. I've looked in on a yoga class or two and realized that those classes would be too strenuous and not brace friendly. Walking is out of the question since my knee just can't handle anything more than a city block.

And then one day on my way home from the local produce store, I passed a sign set up outside our community center which advertised Tai Chi classes.

Hm. So close by. And I've heard that Tai Chi is supposed to be pretty gentle exercise, I thought. So I pulled into the parking lot and went inside. My timing was perfect -- a class was just about to start and the instructor noticed me peeking into the class site. He invited me in and I had a chance to ask questions. Encouraged by his assurances that I would only have to do what I felt comfortable with, I signed up. I also liked the fact that I could wear any kind of comfy clothes over with no wardrobe changes required. Bonus.

Yesterday was my first class, and it goes without saying that I clomped and stumbled my way through  it all. But I was motivated by the other newbie -- a young man in his 30's recovering from a serious stroke that had affected his entire left side. His ankle and lower leg were splinted and the mobility in his hand was a bit limited but he was a real trooper. He told me that he has progressed from being bedridden to completely ambulatory with his splint. What hard work and dedication! The other class members seemed to be friendly and welcoming as well.

This morning as I opened my eyes, I experimentally moved my arms and legs, then got out of bed, wondering if I would awake to zero energy and sore muscles, but by seemed that although I had my old familiar aches and pains, I didn't seem to have acquired any new ones. Yet.

I'm heading back. I'll keep y'all posted.


Unknown said...

That sounds awesome. So I take it you can do it every day. I might have to look into it. I am able to walk, but it gets harder to do in the winter months with regularity.

Unknown said...

That's terrific, Julia. I may have to check it out after my back surgery. Thanks.

Kate Stout said...

If you go to China, you see many quite elderly people doing it. It can also be a form of meditation. I hope it works for you.