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Learn some new moves with Tai Chi at enrichment center

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Some regulars at the Henry County Life Enrichment Center recently took a break from their card games to work on Tai Chi moves with center director Bryan Raisor.

Raisor became a certified instructor in the ancient exercise discipline in order to teach the group.

“It relieves pain,” he said, “and it’s good for people in any physical condition.”

The eight-week course is being offered under the auspices of the Arthritis Foundation.

The foundation’s Web site said the program was designed to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis using Sun style Tai Chi. This style of Tai Chi may improve mobility, breathing and relaxation.

Movements do not require deep bending or squatting, making them ideal for older participants.

Raisor began the session with a warm-up. “Stand with feet apart,” he said, “or stay seated and do them sitting down.”

Heads bent low to chests, then stretched back to look at the ceiling. “I think I heard something crack,” participant Jan Brading joked.

Next they rolled shoulders forward and back, lifted hands toward the sky.

The gentle exercise set takes about 30 minutes and incorporates increasing degrees of movement. Raisor reminded participants to do only what was within their comfort and mobility ranges.

Brading asked how the exercises could benefit participants.

Raisor said it helps to strengthen joints and increase mobility and flexibility.

The very low-impact workout was followed by a cool-down.

“Look down, then up to the sky and back down to your chest,” he said. “You should be able to turn your head a little further now.”

The program is offered Tuesdays and Wednesdays at around 10:30 a.m. through June 26 at the Senior Center.

Anyone is welcome to check it out, and participants should not be concerned about having already missed a few sessions. “We always start at the beginning,” Raisor said.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com.