Tai chi – keeps body and brain on the go!

brain(Science photo library)

Brain training games may not provide the benefits to brain health they claim to, according to experts.

Instead, a report from the Global Council on Brain Health recommends that people engage in stimulating activities such as learning a musical instrument, taking up tai chi, designing a quilt or gardening.

It said the younger a person started these activities, the better their brain function would be as they aged.

Age UK said it was never too late to learn something new.

The council – which is a collaboration of international scientists, health professionals and policy experts – has produced a report on the best ways to stimulate the brain and reduce cognitive decline.

It said that although many people thought playing online games, such as puzzles and mind games, designed to improve brain health was important, the evidence regarding the benefits was “weak to non-existent”.

“If people play a ‘brain game’, they may get better at that game, but improvements in game performance have not yet been shown to convincingly result in improvements in people’s daily cognitive abilities,” the report said.

For example, there was no evidence that playing sudoku would help you manage your finances any better, it added.

Tai chi and photography

The report recommends seeking out new activities that challenge the way you think and are socially engaging, while leading a healthy lifestyle.

Examples include:

  • practising tai chi
  • researching your family tree
  • photography classes
  • cooking
  • gardening
  • learning new technologies
  • creative writing
  • art projects
  • volunteering

James Goodwin, chief scientist at Age UK, which helped set up the Global Council on Brain Health, said brain decline was not inevitable.

He said: “There are plenty of activities that we can start today that can provide benefits for brain health, if they are new to you and require your concentrated attention.

“They may even be activities that you do regularly in your life, such as playing with grandchildren, gardening or playing cards.

“Even though it’s never too late to learn something new, the overwhelming message from this report is that you shouldn’t wait until later life to try to maintain your brain health.”

(BBC News 02/08/17)

And if you fancy having a go at tai chi, as part of a wonderful Week of Wellness, in Mallorca, come and join us Continue reading

Best foot forward! Age is no barrier…

form cropDid you know this week is Age UK’s Fall Awareness Week when they support a wealth of events across the UK aimed at reducing people’s likelihood of falling? Today I ran two seated tai chi taster sessions as part of an event at Westbank, Exminster. Most participants hadn’t experienced tai chi before. We had fun exploring some of the ways tai chi can help to increase core stability and balance, maintain and improve mobility and just make you feel fabulously relaxed! One of my new students it turns out, is 83 years old. A very spritely 83 I think, with a twinkle in her eye, and a can-do attitude in the face of physical adversity. She’s joined the class to improve her balance (and her self belief that she won’t fall over) after a stroke, and she’s not the only one.

At the other end of the age spectrum, having made it home after these workshops, I found a facebook friend had shared an inspiring video of a 6 year old Chinese girl, demonstrating her form in a tai chi competition. Such fluidity, such focus, it was a delight to behold, and a salient reminder that there really is no age barrier to embarking on our tai chi journeys.

If you’re in Devon, UK, you can join weekly Chi and Biscuits classes on Friday, 10am, and at Westbank, 1.30pm.

If you’re anywhere in the world you can join us in Mallorca, October 5-12th 2013 for a week of tai chi, reflexology and walking bliss!