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 Reduce your stress with tai chi, ‘mediation in motion’
May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, as well as Mental Health Month.
Employees can address both their physical and mental fitness through Tai Chi, a slow-moving, low-impact exercise that is sometimes described as “meditation in motion.” Around the world, tai chi is one of the most popular fitness regimens, with more than 300 million participants engaging in mindful stretching, reaching and breathing.
“It’s a graceful form of exercise — and everyone can do it,” said Joe Novack, exercise fitness technician.
The Friday lunch-time class at Christiana Hospital has been so popular that a second class on Tuesday mornings was recently added.
“It’s convenient for people who work the night shift and are just getting off work,” he said.
Tai chi originated centuries ago in China as a martial arts form. But you don’t learn tai chi to defend yourself against physical attacks. Tai chi is designed to fend off stress.
You don’t have to work up a sweat to feel the benefits. You won’t get out of breath, either. There are no mats, blocks or special equipment. All that’s required is a willingness to relax.
“You don’t have to change your clothes or shower,” Novack said. “You just take your class and go back to work.”
Tai chi is gentle. Most movements are circular. It’s easy on the joints, with hips, knees, shoulders and elbows in a comfortable position, not fully bent or fully extended. Muscles are relaxed, not flexed. Instructor Lizzy Helm leads the class and helps participants achieve the correct moves and posture.
Tai chi classes are
held at the fitness center
Benefits of tai chi include:
• Lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. • Increased aerobic capacity and muscle strength. • Enhanced energy and stamina.
• Improved balance, agility and flexibility.
• Lower blood pressure.
• Reduced inflammation.
• Reduced fall risk.
Group fitness classes are great for people who want to get on
a regular fitness schedule, with 30-minute classes during the day that are easy to fit into a work schedule. Longer classes are offered at night.
Participants also benefit from instructors who coach them on proper form and provide encouragement. Courses are convenient, too, offered at employee fitness centers at Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital. Options include various cardiovascular workouts, strength training, yoga and other mind and body exercises.
“Joining a class can help build the structure you need to jump start your fitness routine,” Novack said. “Group energy is a powerful force. Individuals are more likely to work out when they are with like-minded people.” 
                        at Christiana Hospital Tuesdays 8:15-8:45 a.m. and Fridays 12:05-12:35 p.m.
To learn more, contact Joe Novack at
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