by Cori Hilsgen
A class called Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance will begin on Monday, March 20 and will continue from 3:15-4:15 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays through June 12 at the Church of St. Joseph Heritage Hall Parish Center in St. Joseph.
Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance is a program presented in two one-hour sessions each week. Each session includes warm-up exercises, core practices that include a mixture of practice of forms and variations of forms, mini-therapeutic movements and brief cool-down exercises.
Certified instructor Paula Woischke said Tai Ji Quan has been shown to help improve strength, balance, mobility and daily functioning and to help prevent falls by older adults and individuals with balance disorders. The class can be done seated or standing which makes it perfect for all fitness levels.
The class focuses on learning eight core movements and incorporates some balance components to help with fall prevention.
“We know that falls are a big risk for older adults, which is why we continue to offer these programs in St. Joseph, with the collaboration of the Whitney Senior Center and the Church of St. Joseph,” Woischke said.
Church of St. Joseph Parish Nurse Marjorie Henkemeyer said Tai Ji Quan was originally considered a martial art but has now transformed into a therapeutic exercise that addresses coordinated movement, range of motion, walking and posture. She said the class is perfect for older adults and individuals who have difficulty with balance.
The class is one of the evidence-based program options provided through the Whitney Senior Center of St. Cloud. Woischke first brought this workshop to St. Joseph three years ago and said they decided to bring the program back to St. Joseph because they had such an overwhelming response to the first one.
Woischke said she has been fortunate to be able to train leaders to teach the workshops but yet has the ability to lead the classes herself. She has been teaching the Tai Ji Quan class for three years and an EnhanceFitness class for 12 years.
The EnhanceFitness class is ongoing and focuses on all four components of what individuals need in an exercise class that includes balance, endurance, strength and flexibility.
“For those that know me and take my class, I bring the energy and passion with me into my classes,” Woischke said.
The workshop is covered through grant funding through the Central Minnesota Council on Aging, but voluntary contributions are accepted for the classes.
A second session for the workshop will take place from 12:15-1:15 p.m., beginning Friday, April 17 at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud.
To register for the class, call Whitney Senior Center at 320-255-7245 today.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.