Wiser and Fitter: Two alternative exercise activities near Journey Club

The golden years, for all the freedoms that age entails, come with responsibility to care for one’s body. Your mortal vessel isn’t getting any younger, but you also probably can’t work out like you could in your salad days. When bodies change, exercise changes too.

For the 55+ crowd, gentle exercise activities can be a great gateway to greater physical literacy. If you just retired from an office job or are dealing with any chronic medical conditions, there are exercise styles that can relieve stress, improve strength and balance, and generally keep you limber and able bodied. If you’re not feeling like the conventional pumping iron is right for you, some different options may provide a more accessible exercise regimen.


Yoga: The new old school

For whatever reason, the last ten to fifteen years has seen an explosion in the Western world of one of India’s most ancient exercise regimes: yoga. If you used to see it as a hippy stretching meditation thing (or still do), it’s well worth considering. In the process of engaging with your body through difficult, balance oriented stretching, you can get to know your body’s strong and weak points. Unless you dive straight into the deep end and do some hot yoga, you won’t be sweating like crazy at the end of it, so don’t count on yoga as a fat burning, weight loss regimen necessarily. Consider it a practice of physical literacy, where your body is like a book you are reading, and the end of the story is a limber body.

Lucky for residents of both Journey Club and Westman Village, a modern, fully appointed yoga studio is literal steps away down at Mode. You may have seen Mode’s friendly instructors featured in Westman Village Life magazine, or met them in the halls of Westman Village, and even if not they are just in the Village Centre whenever you feel the urge to stretch and flex your worries and troubles away.


Tai Chi: Tension Release

The Chinese take on holistic physical movement and wellness is a martial art focused strictly on internal physical processes. It promotes physical awareness and wellness through breath work, meditative techniques, and precise stretches and movements. You can look at it as the perfect medium of activity -- not strenuous enough to aggravate injuries or conditions, yet intense enough to strengthen and tone the muscles you use in your everyday life.

Roughly, Tai Chi practice is made up of three elements. First, it aims to reduce the physical impacts of stress on the body. The long, slow, precise movements of Tai Chi promote healthy circulation in the body’s systems, through the movement of breath for the respiratory system and blood for the circulatory system. It even creates healthy muscle movement for the digestive tract and lymphatic immune system since proper Tai Chi practice requires regulation and control of the entire body’s movements.

The second element is mediation. Part of practicing Tai Chi is creating calm focus to properly achieve the necessary movements. Mental calm and focus not only directly benefits the body, it also allows the movements to work properly over the course of the practice.

Third, Tai Chi can be used as a self defense martial art. Not all studios will focus on this element, but classical Tai Chi was intended for physical mastery and self defense.

Fung Loy Kok is a Taoist organization with multiple Calgary locations, including one in Shawnessy, where a beginner class happens every Monday at 1:00 PM, and regular continuing classes occur Monday at 10:00 AM. Visit https://www.taoist.org/ to see what may work for you and your Tai Chi practice.


Tags: Fitness, Health, Wellness