We all know that regular movement and exercise are necessary for maintaining good health. When we incorporate play and socialization into exercise, it makes the experience much more enjoyable. For many people, gentle exercise is much more beneficial than rigorous cardio or competitive sports. Low impact physical activity is great for reducing stress, improving mood, and supporting optimal blood flow. Here at ICF, the gentler approach to movement is ideal for our Day Services Program participants, which is why we encourage it throughout each day.
Twice a week, we take our exercise program to the next level with a fun and engaging session of Tai Chi with local instructor Mark Cashatt. Tai Chi is a low impact type of exercise that incorporates stretching, muscle movement, and focused breathing with fluid motion from one position to the next. The Mayo Clinic reports that Tai Chi can help with mood, energy, and balance. There is also some evidence that it may enhance sleep and lower blood pressure!
Exercise Should be Fun!
In many Tai Chi classes, one might expect to find a serene and quiet atmosphere. But anyone who knows Indian Creek Foundation knows that serene and quiet are just not our style! We like to have fun, and our favorite activities involve a lot of participation. That’s exactly what can be found in our unique approach to Tai Chi classes.
When Mark arrives, we take a few minutes for high fives and fist bumps while everyone gets to a spot with plenty of room to move around. Then we start some music (our favorite is 1980s pop), make sure our friends on Zoom are ready, and get started. The warm-up is always first because it’s important for everyone to warm up their muscles and heart rate before any kind of exercise.
From start to finish, Tai Chi is an interactive class. As a Chinese martial art, Tai Chi uses descriptive names for many of the moves. Mark’s own approach to this descriptive style makes the experience very engaging and integrates fun skills into each class. Participants pick fruit, shoot a bow, imitate animal moves, fly to far off (or nearby) destinations, and tell stories. Mark is good friends with our participants and compliments each individual by name for great form, ideas, and participation.
Our Direct Support Professionals get in on the fun, too! Whether helping someone individually, or encouraging a few folks on their moves, our staff loves the benefits of staying in motion for these special classes.
Exercise Builds Confidence!
While our participants enjoy the fun movements and game-like approach to Mark’s Tai Chi classes, the personal benefits extend beyond the purely physical. During their 45-minute class, participants grow in their confidence to perform the moves, keep count with their instructor, and practice their skills.
While a few moves are a little bit tricky, our participants are up for the challenge. As Mark says, “We can do tricky things; we just need practice.” At the end of class, the smiles are big, and everyone is ready to cool down and relax for our next activity. This class helps us remember that exercise is for everyone, and its benefits are long-lasting.
Learn More About Day Programs at Indian Creek Foundation
Indian Creek Foundation serves adults with disabilities Monday through Friday in our Day Services Program. Our participants enjoy programming that is individualized to support their goals. We work closely with participants and their families to help them achieve their own desired outcomes. For more information on our Day Services Program, call 267-203-1500 ext. 132.