Tug-Of-War: The Work-Home Balance Dilemma

I’ve been talking to a lot of patients recently who have been struggling with finding the right work-home balance for their families.  Especially with COVID and so many parents working from home, it can be very hard to juggle everything.

Let’s face it:  work is necessary.  For the family to survive someone has to earn an income.  Many people also find their work very fulfilling and a source of great satisfaction.  However, finding the right balance between your obligations at work and your obligations to your family is often tough.

When I have patients struggling with the stress of juggling home and work, I ask them to do two things.

First of all, I validate their dilemma and ask THEM to do the same.  It is normal to find it difficult to be pulled in two directions at once.  On the one hand, spouse and kids and household tasks are very important.  On the other hand, like I said before, earning an income is critical.  The person has to give themselves permission to feel stressed!

Especially working moms.  The women’s liberation movement has taught girls and young women that they can have it all.  They can have happy kids and a close, loving marriage as well as a fulfilling career.  While this is true, it is a VERY hard juggling act, and usually something has to take a backseat.  Working moms feel the stress very acutely and need permission to acknowledge they CAN’T do everything and to ask for the help they need.

The second thing I ask patients to do when they are struggling to make sense of their work-home balance is to make some lists.  List their priorities.  What are all the things that are important at work and important at home.

For instance, at work they might list priorities of getting a promotion, getting a raise, expanding their company’s sales force, or helping to open a new branch.  Entrepreneurs in particular must make priorities because if it’s YOUR business it’s pretty easy to let it overwhelm the rest of your life.

At home a person might list being home for dinner every night, scheduling date night regularly with their spouse, or taking one of the children to swim lessons or band practice.  Everyone’s priorities are unique.

Once the priorities are listed it’s easier to see where they might conflict.  For instance, committing to being home for dinner every night would keep you from working evenings.  A job that requires you to travel regularly might interfere with family activities.

Ultimately the balance of work and family is an individual and personal one.  There is NO right answer and the solution YOU choose has to be right for your situation.  Being open and frank with your spouse is very important because (as in my house) when one spouse works a lot, the other does most of the heavy lifting as far as the household tasks go.

Love, support, understanding and humor can be great tools to help smooth any rough spots in finding the right balance.  It’s never easy, but it’s definitely worth it!

QUESTION:  What struggles have you had in finding a balance between work and family?

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3 Best Ways To Survive Quarantine

Raise your hand if you are TIRED of quarantine. (Yes, that’s my hand waving in the air too…) We’re all managing, but are we really thriving? I think we’re all just waiting for life to get back to normal. Feels a bit like the end of pregnancy, if you ask me.

It’s uncomfortable and you don’t really care WHAT happens, as long as SOMETHING happens. And you know perfectly well that “old normal” is loooooooong gone, but you just are so eager to have it over with that you can miss some of the magic.

Everyone seems to have advice on how to make the best of this Great Pause. I have three suggestions of the best ways to survive quarantine, how we can come out of this situation better than when we went in.

Rest

One thing that really characterizes our culture is HUSTLE. We are SO busy that we rarely get the time to stop and take a few deep breaths.

Well the hustle is done for now. Rest assured, it isn’t done for good, but for this period we are forced to do less, to take a break. Take advantage of this time.

Sleep. Really commit to getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night, if at all possible. Do things just for the joy of them, without guilt. Work crossword puzzles or read a book or take long bubble baths. Binge a good Netflix series.

Rest. Take a break. It’s OK, the world can clearly take care of itself for a minute. You can take care of YOU.

Connect

One other thing that characterizes our culture in America right now is lack of connection. We work all day but don’t really know our coworkers. Our kids are in day care, school, after care programs, we don’t spend much time with them. Our siblings and parents and friends are even lower on the list.

Make a commitment to reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with. Call your parent or another older adult EVERY DAY just to say hello and check on them. It means more than you know. Play with your kids. Ride bikes. Learn how to play Magic or Pokemon or Dungeons & Dragons. Teach them your favorite recipes. (Christmas cookies in May? Sure, why not!)

I’ve heard it said that our kids someday may not remember much about fear and death, masks and hand sanitizer, not being able to go to the movies or the mall. But they might very well remember this was a time of pillow forts and board games, cooking and playing outside, going for walks and just hanging out with the most important people in their lives. You.

Learn Something New

If you are REALLY bored, look online for something new to learn. There are lots of community colleges offering courses online. Many museums are offering virtual tours for free. DuoLingo, Babbel and other language-learning apps make learning a new language fun. Start a blog. Take it from me, I’ve learned more from writing this blog than you have!

Life will get busy again very soon. Those on leave or unemployed will go back to work as the economy lumbers back to life. In this time before the hustle starts again, it’s great to rest, to cocoon with your people, and to work on YOU.

QUESTION: What has been your coping strategy for this quarantine period?

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Caregiver Stress And The Sandwich Generation

I’m planning to give a talk on caregiver stress in a few weeks, and I figured I’d ask my lovely readers to help me make this talk awesome.

What is a caregiver?  A caregiver is defined as someone who provides care for another person in need.  Generally the person being cared for is unwell in some way and needs help with daily tasks.  Those with cancer, dementia, and many other chronic conditions may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, medication management and other critical tasks.

Who are our nation’s caregivers?  According to womenshealth.gov, over 20% of adult Americans will provide unpaid care to an elderly or disabled person each year.  61% of informal or family caregivers are women, and most are middle-aged.  59% of women who provide informal care to a family member are also employed. Over half of these employed female informal caregivers have made changes at work to accommodate caregiving, such as scaling back their work hours or changing their schedules.

There is an interesting term to refer to those providing informal or family caregiving:  The Sandwich Generation.  There are several types of Sandwich Generationers:

  • Traditional Sandwich – those caring for both aging parents and their own children
  • Club Sandwich – those caring either for both aging parents and their own adult children and grandchildren (4 layers!) OR aging parents and grandparents and their own children
  • Open-Faced Sandwich – anyone else involved in informal caregiving

Sandwich generation caregivers have an extra level of stress because they have competing priorities.  There is only so much time and they often feel they can’t do justice to any single task because they’re pulled in so many different directions.

Caregivers have definitely Got Stress.  How does one know when caregiver stress is becoming unhealthy?  The Alzheimer’s Association has a lot of information on their website about caregiver stress and burnout.  Symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, trouble concentrating, depression and anger.  Caregivers may be in denial about their loved one’s illness.  They may withdraw from friends and family, have trouble sleeping and feel exhausted.

Caregivers’ own health may suffer due to stress and burnout.  Researchers at the CDC found that 20% of caregivers surveyed rated their own health as fair or poor.

If you are a caregiver and find yourself struggling with stress and burnout, what can you do about it?  Better yet, if you find yourself (or know someone else who is) in the caregiver role, how can you minimize the risk of burnout?

  • Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t do everything.  Recognize you’re only human and be gentle with yourself.
  • Look for resources.  Check with the local Area Agency on Aging to explore what services are available near you.  There may also be disease-specific resources and services available.
  • Be proactive and take a problem-solving approach, rather than worrying and feeling helpless.
  • Do your best to take care of yourself.  Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep.  See your doctor for your annual physical and other scheduled visits.  Remember, you can’t take care of others if you’re not well yourself.
  • Actively practice proven stress reduction strategies.  Meditation and yoga are good options.  Check out this recent post about Sudarshan Kriya Yoga.  Go to church, temple or other religious services regularly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other family members for financial help if you need it.
  • Ask for and ACCEPT help.  Have a mental list of things people can do and let them choose one.  For instance, a sibling can take Mom for visits on weekends to give you a break.
  • Be realistic and don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t commit to something.  Someone else will be able to chair the PTA and run the fundraiser.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.  Isolation makes stress worse and accelerates burnout.
  • Keep a sense of humor!

I want to make sure you realize that there are significant upsides to the caregiver role too.  Many of my patients are providing care to aging parents and grandparents and find it incredibly rewarding.  For instance, one patient was the full-time caregiver for her father until he passed away in his 90s.  She has told me it was wonderful being able to share that time with him, knowing the time was limited and coming to a close.  Focusing on the blessings rather than the trials and keeping her (boisterous!!) sense of humor helped her keep burnout at bay.

Research has also shown that the healthiest and longest-lived people on Earth tend to live in multi-generational households.  Maintaining close relationships between generations is good for your health and for society.  One of my friends is a caregiver for her grandfather who has Alzheimer’s disease.  She is homeschooling her son and they spend the day together as a family.  Her grandfather is fascinated by his great-grandson’s schooling and the little guy adores spending time with him every day.

Providing family caregiving services to an elderly or ill family member is stressful, no doubt about it.  Caregiver stress is common and falls largely on women.  It doesn’t have to lead to conflict, burnout and physical illness though.  Acknowledging your limitations, asking for help, practicing good self-care, and seeking out the positive can help keep you healthy and make caregiving a rewarding experience for you AND your loved one.

QUESTION:  Are you providing caregiving services for someone you love?  What are you struggling with, and what helps you manage?

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Meaningful Work And Joyful Play

“What do you do for fun?”

That may sound like a weird question for your doctor to ask you, but what can I say, I’m weird 😉 I’ve been doing some training on how to coach for nutrition and lifestyle change, and one thing I read this week really struck me.

Stress depends largely on a balance between meaningful work and joyful play.

So lately I’ve been asking my patients what they like to do for fun. If I’m seeing a patient for depression, chances are good they can’t tell me one single thing they do that they enjoy. One patient went so far as to tell me (tearfully) that she is not getting any fun out of life at all.

We’ll talk about Part Two in a minute, but I want to start by talking about meaningful work. Many of my patients, especially if they struggle with depression, have trouble with seeing their work as meaningful. They feel like they’re punching a clock, going through the motions.

I read once (probably connected with some small-business training or other) that all business boils down to making someone’s life better. Think about that. Why do you open your wallet and spend money? Because you believe that transaction will make your life better. Subscribing to Disney+, buying a new pair of shoes, sending your kids to private school, saving for retirement instead of taking an extra trip this year. Even paying taxes makes your life better (by averting the likelihood of prison for tax evasion)

There was a talk not long ago I attended about improving quality at a big hospital system. The speaker was talking about a time he visited an aircraft carrier. One of the airmen’s job was to clean up the deck. The speaker asked what his job was. He could have said “I’m the janitor,” or “I keep the deck clean.” But that’s not what he said.

When asked what his job was, the speaker said the airman stood up straight, looked him in the eye and said “Sir, I help planes take off and land safely to protect our pilots and further the mission of the United States Navy. Sir.” Wow! That’s a man with a clear idea of how his job makes people’s lives better!

When you go to work every day, your job will feel much more meaningful if you focus on how you are making someone’s life better. I challenge you in the comments to give me a job that DOESN’T make someone’s life better.

On the other side of the coin, no matter how meaningful your work is, you still need to make time for R&R, otherwise you’re courting burnout. My work is extremely meaningful, all of it, from doctoring to my Shaklee business to writing this blog. But if I don’t take time to play, I start to get irritable. I even have found myself feeling cynical.

For me, “play” means lots of things. I hang out with my kids and play video games sometimes. I practice martial arts with my family. I have a number of fiber crafts I love: spinning, crochet, knitting. I read novels. I practice my faith. I sing along with the radio and my music selection on my phone (not always well but with great enthusiasm, LOL). I do all these things to balance my incredibly meaningful but at times extremely stressful work.

In chasing the elusive “work-life balance,” it helps to focus on incorporating both meaningful work and joyful play in every day.

QUESTIONS: Two today! How do you play joyfully every day? And can you think of a job that would NOT make someone’s life better? Don’t pick politicians – that’s too easy 😉

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Picky Eaters: Some Suggestions

“What should I do about my child, he is SUCH a picky eater!”

I hear this a lot in the office.  Parents are struggling to find foods that their child will eat.  Parents cooking several meals every night, one for their child(ren) and one for themselves.

Thanksgiving is a good time to reiterate:  this is a mistake.  Don’t go there.  Just don’t.

When I have a parent struggling with a picky eater, it is exactly that.  A struggle.  A battle.  A fight for control.  The parent trying to control what their child eats.  And the child fighting to control ANYTHING he or she can.

My absolute best suggestion for this situation is to take the fight out of it.  Give the child choices from the time the child can communicate.  Let your child control SOMETHING.  Do you want the red bowl or the blue bowl?  How about the Mickey Mouse plate or the Cars plate?  Do you want to try eating at the table like a big boy or do you want to stay in the high chair?  Straw cup or sippy cup?

As your child gets bigger let them take more control.  Ask for help with meal planning.  Should Daddy put the corn on the grill or should we cook it on the stove?  Do you think green peas or green beans sound better tonight?  Especially if it’s a special dinner like Thanksgiving, simple tasks give children a role to play and something to brag about over dinner (“Mommy let me stir the soup into the green beans AND I got to put the onions on top!”)  Let them say how much of each item they want on their plate.  Not WHETHER they want it, but how much:  a little or a lot.

Taking your children to a farmer’s market in the summer and exploring all the really cool and unusual foods is a way to trigger interest in food as well.  Ever had muskmelon?  I tried it for the first time at forty-two.  My six-year-old loved it.  We found it at the farmer’s market and it was love at first sample 🙂  Now both my kids (17 and 12 now) are pretty adventurous although my senior is still not a big fan of green things, LOL!

What do you do if you have a bigger picky eater?  Suppose your child is twelve and still has only five or six foods on the approved list?  That’s a tough one.  One of the best suggestions I’ve ever read is to have your child take charge of one meal per week.  From meal planning (within limits) to making a list to shopping to cooking (with help), making one meal per week is a great way to expose children to new foods and encourage them to be more adventurous with food.

There are lots of recipe sites and apps out there but my favorite is allrecipes.com. It’s easy to pick an ingredient and search for options.  Sure it’s a lot of work to help a tween plan, shop for and cook an entire meal, but they have to learn this skill sometime!  After a few weeks I think Mom and Dad will enjoy a dinner “off” once a week, and your child will have a new skill they can be very proud of.

PS – I highly recommend the book French Kids Eat Everything and Jim and Charles Fay’s Love and Logic series of parenting books, which have many very helpful suggestions for curing picky eater syndrome.

QUESTION:  Can you add more suggestions for helping parents with their picky eaters?

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Direct To Consumer Genetic Tests

Sharon is a patient of mine who has a problem with debilitating migraines. She also has osteoporosis in spite of a healthy diet and a ridiculously high level of physical activity. When she read about a genetic test she could purchase online without a prescription, she ordered it. Then she brought the results to me to review.

Many patients order these direct to consumer genetic tests. Are they a good investment? Are the results accurate?

Researchers in the UK recently reviewed the risks and benefits of direct to consumer (DTC) genetic tests. They found that positive results are not always accurate and usually need follow up testing. Sometimes negative results are not accurate either, because they don’t test for more uncommon disease-causing genes.

Suppose a man gets a DTC genetic test and finds he has a gene that increases his risk for Parkinson’s disease. He’s upset because there’s no family history and he knows that’s an awful disease. Worse, he did not realize DTC genetics testing results are not covered by the HIPAA privacy regulation so they can be disclosed to life insurance and health insurance companies. He may wind up paying much higher insurance premiums for the rest of his life for a test result that may not be accurate. Worse, he would likely have anxiety and spend the rest of his life waiting for tremors, memory loss and other PD symptoms to start.

Suppose a woman has a strong family history of breast cancer. Should she get a direct to consumer genetic test to check for the BRCA breast cancer genes? That’s a tough question to answer without knowing the specifics. Did her family members with breast cancer get tested? Were they positive or negative? What would the woman in question do with that information? Would she have her breasts and ovaries removed if she were positive? Would she neglect to have annual mammograms if she were negative?

The best place to have these discussions about genetic testing is with your doctor, and likely with a medical geneticist. A pedigree (chart of family members and their medical history) can be done which can help spot patterns and identify which tests will be most helpful, and most cost effective. You may pay more for the targeted tests you choose to have done, but the results will be more accurate and applicable to your specific situation.

What happened with my friend Sharon? Her test was positive for a genetic variant which makes her body not process folic acid well, which increases the risk of migraines. She needs to take higher supplemental doses of folic acid which help reduce her risk of cardiovascular disease and also help keep her migraines in check. That was really the only useful finding. I usually have my patients with migraine take B vitamin supplements (including folic acid), so did she really get anything from her genetic test?

If you’re considering having a direct to consumer genetic test done, there are 3 things to think about:

  • What are you looking for?
  • What will you do with the information?
  • Are you prepared to have your health and life insurance companies in the future aware of increased genetic risks?

Discuss your reasons for considering a DTC genetic test with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to order a more specific, targeted, accurate test which WILL be HIPAA protected. If you have deeper concerns or a family history of an unusual problem, a medical genetics referral is the best option.

QUESTION: Have you or someone you know done direct to consumer genetic tests? What was your experience?

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Diet Change And Depression

Depression and anxiety are incredibly common symptoms that we see in primary care. It is estimated that 75-90% of visits to doctors are related to problems caused or made worse by stress. I was so excited to see a new study published showing a link between diet change and depression symptoms!

We all have to eat. Most people recognize that our diet has a huge impact on our health. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers, obesity and many other illnesses are impacted by what we eat. Doctors spend a lot of time advising people to eat less sugar, less saturated fat, and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many people don’t realize what you eat affects your mood, too! I’ve had great success with nutritional supplements in helping people with depression and anxiety feel better. A new research study has shown a very clear association between diet change and depression as well.

Researchers in Australia studied 76 young adults with depression and anxiety symptoms. They were randomly assigned to two groups – one group got no intervention, and one group got instructions to improve their diet via a 13-minute video they could re-watch whenever they wanted to.

They were instructed to increase their intake of

  • vegetables to 5 servings per day
  • fruits to 2-3 servings per day
  • whole grains to 3 servings per day
  • lean protein (lean meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes) to 3 servings per day (Remember, plant sources are healthier than animal)
  • unsweetened dairy to 3 servings per day
  • fish to 3 servings per week
  • nuts and seeds to 3 tablespoons per day
  • olive oil to 2 tablespoons per day

They were also instructed to take 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon most days. They were to DECREASE their intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fatty or processed meats and soft drinks. They were given sample menus and handouts answering common questions as well.

After 3 weeks the average depression questionnaire scores had not changed in the control group, not surprisingly. However, in the diet-change group the scores had returned to normal! And the improvement was maintained when they were rechecked after 3 months.

This study supports what I’ve said for a long time. Depression and anxiety are not just related to stress or genetics. Our nutrition strongly impacts our brains’ ability to manage and cope with stress. A crappy diet predisposes us to depression and anxiety, and we can improve our mood by improving our diet.

If you struggle with stress, depression and/or anxiety, improving your diet is something you can do TODAY. Improving your diet is as effective as medication, and works just as quickly. It also has no side effects! What are you waiting for?!

QUESTION: Do you see a link between how you eat and how you feel?

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Kids And Martial Arts

Do you worry about your kids?  Do you worry that they will grow up overweight and/or obese?  Are you concerned they will be the target of bullies?  Worse, will they BECOME bullies?  Are you seeing a tendency for them to boss their friends and classmates around?  Are they clumsy and prone to injury?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, martial arts training would help.  There is lots of evidence that martial arts training helps children grow up healthy and happy, able to interact comfortably in groups and one-on-one.

My family has participated in martial arts for my children’s whole lives, and over half of my life.  I have seen with my own eyes remarkable results in behavior, self-esteem and self-confidence both in children and adults.

Children with autism-spectrum disorders who have shown improvement in their ability to tolerate touch.  Children with ADHD who are able to meditate quietly for short periods.  Children with little or no self esteem or self confidence who gradually bloom into skilled teachers and leaders on (and off) the mat.

What does the science say?  There are LOTS of scientific studies published on martial arts training in kids.  Kids who study martial arts tend to enjoy physical activity more than those who don’t.  Martial arts is effective for prevention of fall-related injuries.  Martial arts training improves creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline.

Martial arts training benefits adults too.  I’ve seen adults with asthma develop vastly better lung function.  Core strength and stamina are particular targets of martial arts training.  Mindfulness, meditation, and stress relief are core principles.

If you choose to enroll your child in a martial arts program, how should you go about it?  Look for a school that particularly emphasizes teaching children (not as an afterthought).

Go to your prospective school(s) and observe classes.  See if the children have plenty of time to ask questions and understand the exercises and techniques.  See if the master or sensei of the school teaches the children him- or herself, or if classes are taught primarily by junior instructors.  Talk to the other parents and get an idea of what improvements they have seen in their children, as a result of the training.

Two other concerns to make sure you address before enrolling your child:

  • What is the teacher’s attitude towards bullying?  Does he or she specifically address measures to prevent and handle bullying in and outside of school?
  • What are the safety measures taken?  Injury prevention is a huge issue in martial arts, especially with developing children’s growing bones and flexible joints.  Make sure safety equipment such as mouthguards and groin protection are worn whenever contact is expected.

If you choose to enroll your child in a martial arts class, you should consider taking classes yourself.  Spending time on the mat is a great way to relieve stress and build strength, endurance and confidence that you can handle challenges that come your way.  If you’re not interested in external, combat-style arts you can consider Tai Chi, which is gentle and meditative but still has great health benefits.

martial arts

Credit: thesilentmind.com

Martial arts training is of benefit to the whole family.  Give it a try!  Your results should speak for themselves.

QUESTION:  Have you tried martial arts?  What was your experience?

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Protein Intake Changes In Seniors

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that our diet changes over time. We like different foods, we tolerate different foods, we CHOOSE different foods at different stages of life. As we get older, these diet changes impact our chances of getting certain diseases.

There was a study published recently that looked at protein intake in seniors. They found that WHERE the protein in your diet comes from is associated with your risk of aging in an unhealthy way.

Researchers in Spain studied over 1000 seniors and had them fill out questionnaires about their diet and other habits and about their health status. Following them for over 8 years, they found that changes in where their dietary protein intake came from was associated with changes in their health status.

protein rich foods

Seniors who increased their calorie intake from vegetable protein showed healthier aging markers than those who decreased their plant protein intake. Similar changes were NOT seen in those who increased animal protein in their diet.

We have many instances of plant foods helping people improve their health and reduce their risk of disease. This is just one more example of the benefits of protein rich plant foods (like nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, soy, quinoa and others) for human health.

This won’t come as a surprise to many of my long-term readers who know I’ve been a plant-based eater for over 8 years. With my medical patients I recommend a plant-based diet for just about all humans. In fact I can’t think of a single condition that is improved by eating meat or dairy.

Looking for a simple way to get more plant protein in your diet? Yep, I’ve got a Shaklee solution! We’ve got both soy and non-soy options and they are super tasty – we guarantee you’ll like them. Want more suggestions? Shoot me an email at DrJen@jenniferwurstmd.com and let’s talk!

QUESTION: What are YOUR favorite protein-rich foods? Do you tend to reach for meat and dairy? Will this info change your habits?

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Tai Chi To Prevent Falls in Seniors

A few years ago I went running in my neighborhood on Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and flowers were blooming. I wound up limping home with blood dripping off my hands because I caught my foot on some uneven pavement and went sprawling.

The worst thing that happened to me with that fall was skin off my hands and my left forearm and difficulty typing at work for a few days. (Yay for jiu jitsu training and knowing how to fall properly!) For older patients, though, a fall can result in a much worse outcome. Hip fractures from falls result in surgery and extended time in rehab. About 25% of elderly patients who suffer a hip fracture never are able to leave the nursing home and live independently afterwards. Fall-related complications are the fifth leading cause of death in people over age 65.

There is a gentle form of exercise that promotes strength, balance and relaxation. It also happens to be a formidable martial art for those who want to study that side of the practice. It is ideal for seniors because it is simple to learn a set of moves, can be done anywhere, and generally is taught in a group setting (thereby promoting social interaction). At the beginning it is not physically demanding although as one progresses in practice moves can be modified to provide more physical benefits.

This exercise has been practiced for thousands of years. It is Tai Chi.

tai chi
Multi-ethnic group of adults practicing tai chi in park. Main focus on senior man (60s) in blue shirt.

I’ve studied Tai Chi since I was a teenager and have found it very relaxing and helpful with stress management and with my health. On days when I’m tired or have an injury and can’t do a full gym workout (or full martial art workout for that matter) I can always do Tai Chi.

Researchers have found that seniors who practice Tai Chi are much less likely to fall than those who don’t. They reviewed 18 research studies looking at almost 4000 participants. The researchers found that those who practiced Tai Chi were much less likely to fall than those that didn’t practice. In fact the effect was so strong that one fall would be prevented for every 10 seniors who practiced Tai Chi. That’s better than statins for preventing heart attacks!

If you or someone you love is getting older, worried about falling, limiting themselves due to fear of falling, or otherwise in need of exercise and social interaction, please check out a Tai Chi class. There are introductory classes available just about everywhere through adult community education or you can look up private studios near you. Tai Chi players

If you are located in northern Ohio I would encourage you to check out the non-profit studio where my family and I study Tai Chi and other martial arts: The Silent Mind in Twinsburg. We have free introductory classes, membership assistance for those struggling financially, and a wide variety of programs for everyone. Kids, teens and adults, beginners and experts, anyone will find something of interest here. Come play with us!

QUESTION: Have you studied (or do you currently study) Tai Chi or another martial art? What has been your experience?

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