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Physical Activity

Tai Chi to Help Arthritis

A man is practicing Tai Chi by the water, overlooking the Sydney Opera House

Tai Chi is a commonly recommended exercise for people with arthritis because it is low-impact and can help you improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. Sometimes referred to as “moving meditation,” Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese mind-body practice that focuses on performing slow, controlled movements with an attention to your breath. It can help with chronic pain management as well as promote relaxation and mental well-being. 

There are many different forms of Tai Chi and some advanced poses may not be suitable for everyone with arthritis, though a qualified instructor can help identify poses that are appropriate for you. Please consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

In this video, Dr. Paul Lam, international expert in Tai Chi for arthritis, takes the viewer through a series of Tai Chi exercises that you can practice at home. He begins with an introduction to Tai Chi and a warm-up, followed by a demonstration of the poses for you to follow. Once you have learned the movements, Dr. Lam takes the viewer through a full practice of all of the movements.

Including Tai Chi as a physical activity on a regular basis can help reduce pain and improve physical function for some people. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that adults 18 and older aim for “muscle strengthening activities using major muscle groups at least twice a week” as well as “several hours of light physical activity, such as standing.” 

For adults 65 years and older, the guidelines also recommend “physical activities that challenge balance.” Following our Tai Chi to Help Arthritis video regularly can help you achieve these goals. Once you have learned the poses, you don’t need to watch the whole video again, you can start from the section “Practice with Dr. Lam.”