Senior group learns Tai Chi

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2008

PROCTORVILLE — As the sun poured through the Palladian-esque windows at the Common Room at Ohio University Proctorville Center, the Lawrence County Homemakers prepared to host their first South District meeting in several decades.

Tables were covered with silk flower arrangements in baskets and a buffet catered by Lambert’s was set up to the side. The club decided on the theme of “A New Beginning — Spring Showers of Health.”

Following up on that they invited health professionals as their speakers.

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There were 57 in attendance from four counties besides Lawrence: Scioto, Ross, Gallia and Clinton.

Tai chi instructor Rick Ruggles put the group through its paces as he outlined the history and benefits of the ancient exercise form.

“There are 700 different styles to Tai Chi,” he said. “It is a moving meditation.”

He said it is a form of exercise especially conducive to the older adult as it helps lower blood pressure, refine motor skills and improve the balance of its practitioners.

“It’s so subtle and good for you that you don’t realize that you’re exercising,” Ruggles said.

A major focus of the exercise, he told the group, was to aid in combating stress.

“We can’t control what happens outside us, but we can control what happens inside us,” he said.

Anita Quisenberry, president of the Lawrence County group, said having a program on health issues was a first for the group.

“It’s the first time we’ve done it. We are into health,” she said. “(Tai Chi) is very relaxing and it is for seniors. It’s not too strenuous.”

After Ruggles’ demonstration, Kellie Glass, a clinical dietician with St. Mary’s Medical Center, gave a lecture and presentation on healthy eating.

The Lawrence County Homemakers is made up of several individual clubs totaling approximately 60 members. It is in conjunction with the Ohio Homemaker and Community Education. Volunteers are associated with the Ohio State University Extension office.

It follows the mission statement to “strengthen individuals, families and communities through education, leadership development and social interaction.”