Nacogdoches seniors improving health with martial arts - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches seniors improving health with martial arts

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The soothing sounds of nature filled the Nacogdoches Senior Center as students participating in a tai chi class took deep cleansing breaths while focusing on their strength and mobility.

"People my age are falling and breaking their hip and everything I don't want to be one of them," said Nancy Dunn, student.

Which is why 79-year-old Nancy Dunn started the class, to get stronger.

"It looks like you're not really doing anything but there are so many benefits you get in the entire body," said Sandra Cole, Tai Chi Instructor.

Tai chi is a softer form of martial arts.

Instructor Sandra Cole says the art has physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional benefits.

Cole says tai chi is the single best exercise for people over 60.

"It works the muscular system the nervous system, the circulatory system, the endocrine system, it works the skeletal system, every system," said Cole.

The  senior center hosts the class three times and week and with moves like bear walking, holding the moon and push press  participants get  a full body workout.

"There's strengthening of the muscles and strengthening of the bones," said Cole.

Dunn says other exercise programs were too strenuous for her but after six months of tai chi she is seeing results.

 "My main problem is my weak ankles and I'm beginning to see a little improvement there," said Dunn.

Cole says many of her students have reported health benefits since committing to the class.

"We've had people get off cholesterol medicine; we've had people to get off high blood pressure medicine," said Cole.

For these seniors the health benefits are an extra perk to a time a relaxation and an activity they enjoy.

Classes are free on Monday, Thursday and Friday mornings at 11 a.m. until April 16th.

After that the classes are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the class is free for anyone 60 and older.

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