Nacogdoches seniors improving health with martial arts

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The soothing sounds ofnature filled the Nacogdoches Senior Center as students participating in a taichi class took deep cleansing breaths while focusing on their strength andmobility.

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

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

"It looks like you'renot 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 formof martial arts.

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

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

"It works themuscular system the nervous system, the circulatory system, the endocrinesystem, it works the skeletal system, every system," said Cole.

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

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

Dunn says other exerciseprograms were too strenuous for her but after six months of tai chi she isseeing results.

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

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

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

For these seniors thehealth benefits are an extra perk to a time a relaxation and an activity theyenjoy.

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

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

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