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“I’ve had stu­dents who were pretty im­mo­bile to pretty ath­letic,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle from www.in­sid­eelder­care. com, Tai Chi has many ben­e­fits for older in­di­vid­u­als. Th­ese in­clude re­liev­ing stress, re­duc­ing bone loss in menopausal women, im­prov­ing lower body and leg strength, low­er­ing blood pres­sure, help­ing with arthri­tis pain, im­prov­ing hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion, en­hanc­ing men­tal capacity and con­cen­tra­tion, in­creas­ing en­ergy, im­prov­ing bal­ance and sta­bil­ity, aid­ing faster re­cov­ery from strokes and heart at­tacks and im­prov­ing

the con­di­tions of those with Alzheimer’s, Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis and Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

The rep­e­ti­tion of proper stances, stand­ing on one foot and dis­tribut­ing weight prop­erly on the feet help im­prove the stu­dents’ core and helps many of their bal­ance is­sues.

“To im­prove bal­ance is­sues peo­ple have to stick with it,” Hicks said. “I see peo­ple give up pretty quickly, but if they can get past a cer­tain hur­dle they be­come more com­fort­able. As you get more com­fort­able do­ing Tai Chi it becomes more re­lax­ing. That kind of comes later.”

Hicks’ time prac­tic­ing, study­ing and teach­ing Tai Chi has also opened

up an­other area of in­ter­est in her life — gar­den­ing.

“The plants are kind of an off­shoot of it,” she said. “I’m go­ing for a Zen gar­den as­pect. Hicks’ in­ter­est in prun­ing and bon­sai grew out of Tai Chi. I re­ally like bon­sai plants — the shap­ing and the more Asian ap­proach to gar­den­ing.”

Just as she plans to keep at her gar­den­ing for as long as pos­si­ble, Hicks plans to keep prac­tic­ing Tai Chi for as long as she can.

“It’s some­thing I can do for the rest of my life as an ex­er­cise,” she said. “It gives me a sense of ac­com­plish­ment. I en­joy ex­er­cis­ing and mov­ing, and it’s fun for me.”

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