Life & Lifestyle

Tai Chi Over 50

It's never too late to learn

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is NOW. ~Chinese Proverb.

Have you wanted to learn tai chi but thought it might be too late to try this ancient art form? The good thing is that you can begin your tai chi journey at any age.

Tai chi is a low-impact exercise suitable for all ages (but check with your doctor first). 

It can be practiced anytime, anywhere, on your own, or in a group setting. 

Tai chi was initially developed as a martial art hundreds of years ago. The practice of tai chi today is an excellent exercise for everyday living and the challenges of fatigue, stress, and joint pain. 

It helps to improve flexibility, strength, and balance and brings the mind and body together by maintaining the flow of “Qi” (Life’s energy). 

It is an internal art and, at the same time, has a multitude of martial art applications. 

The start of your tai chi practice marks the beginning of a calm mind and improved health. It is a thoughtful, progressive journey that moves at your own pace and for your enjoyment and fulfillment.

Just as a climber masters the highest peak, the challenges, benefits, and enjoyment of lifelong tai chi are attainable. 

In time, it will become part of your daily practice —
a friend for life. 

Chen Wangting memorial statue in Chenjiagou, China
Chen Wangting memorial statue in Chenjiagou, China

Tai Chi History

The oldest form of tai chi was developed by the Chen Family and influenced by the boxing schools during the Ming Dynasty. 

The Chen family intended to pass this secret form on to their descendants since many worked as bodyguards.

This form was so closely guarded it was not taught to anyone outside the Chen family name. 

They did not even teach the Chen family’s daughters because the elders feared they could reveal this secret form when they married outside the family.

Seniors practicing tai chi
Seniors practicing tai chi

Tai Chi Today

Today, we are fortunate this art is shared and practiced worldwide. While the martial art application remains the same, the physical benefits of tai chi help to improve the quality of our lives. Each movement is designed to benefit a specific part of the body. 

Some of the well-documented health benefits include increased flexibility and balance. Harvard Health Publishing (May 2022) stated tai chi “could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.” 

In addition to the physical benefits, the social aspects of practicing Tai Chi in a group setting increase the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. 

Many practice tai chi with others in parks to experience the “Qi”(energy). After each practice, you feel energized for the rest of the day.

Tai chi movements are gentle, emphasizing shifting your body weight to increase strength and balance. 

They can be adapted to suit your physical requirements. 

Over time these mindful, slow movements will help improve balance to prevent falls and add confidence to each step. 

For those over 50 who live a less active lifestyle, muscles can weaken, and mobility may become more difficult. 

To combat this, tai chi is exceptional to keep you moving slowly and deliberately. 

Find a tai chi instructor who can explain and modify the practices to fit your physical needs. Also, when you choose a class, start with gentle tai chi movements as a daily or weekly routine. 

Stay consistent in your practice, and you will be on your way to improving your balance and maintaining the harmony of your mind, body, and spirit. 


Hugh Koh

Hugh Koh is a Group Tai Chi Instructor at Life Time Plano and Life Time Addison.  He also teaches at the Rosemeade Recreation Center and the Carrollton Senior Center.  He previously taught in Long Island, NY, where he regularly practiced with his masters and students.  You can view some of the Tai Chi exercises on his website at

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