VIDEO: Ken Pearsall Tai Chi

AN 83-year-old Kahibah man says he would be dead if not for tai chi.

Ken Pearsall has been teaching tai chi for 34 years.

‘‘When I started my body was in a mess,’’ Mr Pearsall said.

‘‘I was full of stress, tension and arthritis and when I got up in the morning my body would ache.’’

Now those health problems are gone.

‘‘I’m 83 and if I hadn’t done tai chi, I’d be dead today or in a nursing home,’’ he said.

He is chief instructor for the Newcastle-based Australian Academy of Tai Chi & Qigong.

‘‘It relaxes you and takes the tension out of your body,’’ Mr Pearsall said.

‘‘When the body’s relaxed it’s all right.’’

Arthritis NSW chief executive Karen Filocamo said tai chi decreased stress, increased muscle strength in the lower body and improved balance and posture.

‘‘Studies show tai chi can help reduce pain and stiffness felt by people with arthritis,’’ Ms Filocamo said.

‘‘The movements gently exercise most of the muscles and joints throughout the body and can improve flexibility and ability to move.’’

Mr Pearsall said tai chi ‘‘takes the weight off the skeleton frame’’.

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that involves slow, gentle and flowing movements that have been labelled ‘‘meditation in motion’’.

A recent Sydney University study found tai chi improved balance, muscle strength and quality of life.

The academy will hold a free session in Speers Point Park from 10am to 11.30am on Sunday.

For more information visit www.tai-chi-newcastle-nsw.com.

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