Tag Archives: Tai Chi

Op-Ed: A matter of balance

| oped@queenscourier.com


The author is a certified yoga and Matter of Balance instructor.

Do you know who is most at risk of falling? If you guessed the older adults, then you are partially correct. Children also have a high risk of falling. However, older people have the highest risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall and the risk increases with age.

One in three seniors aged 65+ falls each year, and this number increases to one in two by the age of 80. Nevertheless, falls are not an inevitable part of aging and are also largely avoidable.  Physical exercise and balance training have shown to be beneficial for fall prevention in older adults.

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, there are four things you can do:

1. Begin a regular exercise program;

2. Have your health care provider review your medicines

3. Have your vision checked

4. Make your home safer (improve lighting, install handrails and grab bars, keep often used items in easily reachable cabinets, etc.)

Since 6 out of 10 falls occur in the home, making simple changes in the home as well as personal and lifestyle changes can prevent many falls. Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center located in Flushing provides an integrated approach to assist older adults to implement these changes that helps reduce the chance of falling.

Besides daily Tai Chi classes, the center provides gentle chair yoga classes as well as programs geared to fall prevention such as Matter of Balance. The Matter of Balance is an evidence-based program addressing physical, emotional and environmental factors that may cause a fall. In addition to exercise, participants will:

1. Learn fall prevention strategies

2. Develop a personal plan to carry out fall prevention strategies

3. Make step by step changes in their daily lives, which help reduce fear of falling

Julia Harrison, former city councilmember and current participant of the program retrofitted her bathroom to make it more available and safer for her to use as a result of what she learned during the course of the Matter of Balance program.

Elsa Gerus is an avid dancer was diagnosed with stenosis of the spine. There were times when she was unable to stand upright. Since completing the Matter of Balance program, she has incorporated the movement exercises as well as meditation in her daily life. Elsa is now not only able to stand straight but is back to dancing again.

The Matter of Balance program is offered at Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing and Peter Cardella Senior Center in Ridgewood.

If you are interested in learning more about the programs available for seniors, contact your local senior center or you may call Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal at 718-886-5777 and Peter Cardella Senior Center at 718-497-2908.

For more information on senior health offered by the National Council on Aging, visit www.ncoa.org/improve-health



Seniors keep fit at Atria Kew Gardens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Kind & Gentle Yoga

Who says you need to slow down as you age?

You will find many Atria Kew Gardens residents doing yoga or T’ai Chi, or participating in a fitness program based on dance or mobility. In fact, these and a variety of other health and exercise activities are a regular part of daily “Engage Life” programming at Atria.

Popular programs like “Kind and Gentle Yoga,” T’ai Chi, “Movement for Life” and “Dance for Health” are all presented by skilled professionals who specialize in geriatric exercise. In addition, twice-weekly sessions of “Mobility, Fitness and Fun” are offered by physical therapists from Metropolitan Physical Therapy, Atria’s on-site provider for physical therapy and rehabilitative medicine.

A number of residents have already earned Active Lifestyle Award certificates from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in connection with the President’s Challenge national physical fitness initiative, and more are participating every day.

Residents are also presented with knowledge vital to their well-being in Atria’s ongoing “Your Health” series, which regularly features guest speakers offering important information on a variety of subjects, from fall prevention to diet and nutrition, memory loss, balance, diabetes, chiropractic and more.

Many Atria Kew Gardens residents are living proof of the value of remaining physically and mentally active at all stages of life, and Atria’s “Engage Life” program is dedicated to providing them every opportunity for continued good health and happiness.

Atria Kew Gardens is home to an active and diverse group of accomplished individuals, including a number of Holocaust survivors, and features programming that provides residents with an exceptional senior living experience every day.

Atria Kew Gardens is located at 117- 01 84th Avenue in Kew Gardens, and at www.atriaseniorliving.com. It is kosher under the Vaad of Queens. For any additional information, call 718-441-0300.

Talent on parade at Howard Beach Senior Center

| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by David Beltran

It was an afternoon full of laughs and smiles at The Howard Beach Senior Center as they held their first of two talent shows this year.

Over 200 people, including Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, attended the show, which featured a variety of acts, from singing to belly dancing to stand-up comedy.

Mark Frey, the executive director of the senior center, said it’s just one of many events that they hold throughout the year.

“We’re very active here,” he said. “Seniors over here play cards, belly dance, do Tai Chi and some even play Wii bowling.

The show began with much of the audience singing along with Jimmy Di Napoli as he sang the “Howard Beach Song,” a song about life in Howard Beach. 

The Tai Chi class led by Elaine Fleischman, who teaches Tai Chi for People with Arthritis – sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, performed a sequence of movements which were followed by the audience. According to Fleischman, some of the Tai Chi performers have been in the class for over three years.

The act that garnered a rousing ovation was the belly dancing performance of Anita Lombardo. Once her dance ended, many of the people in the audience cheered for more. One senior yelled, “Bring it on,” while another said he was going to definitely sign up for the belly dancing class.

Ninety-eight-year-old Max Stern, the center’s oldest senior, lit up the room as he told jokes and played songs on a ukulele. Even Frey took part in the show as he sang his rendition of the Beatles hit, “Let It Be.”

“It was excellent,” said Theresa Brodsky, who was at the senior center for the first time.

“The show was beautiful and all the performers were very good,” said Libby Schmier.