Vernon County Over 50 offering Tai Chi as gentle fitness option

VIROQUA, Wis. – Vernon County Over 50 is offering some low impact and gentle fitness options at a number of locations in Vernon County and through ZOOM. The organization says Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise rooted in multiple Asian traditions including martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy, has become widely recognized as a gentle form of fitness that packs a serious health-promoting punch. Benefits include better balance, enhanced immunity and improved cognition, it’s also popular with the senior set, thanks to its accessibility and effectiveness. Long-term Tai Chi practitioners tend to have better emotional stability and more gray matter in important brain structures. Some experts say that Tai Chi can also reduce falls due to balance improvement and therefore can also reduce falls.

“Tai Chi integrates slow, intentional movements with breathing and cognitive skills like imagery,” says Tommy Kirchoff, certified Tai Chi Master in Colorado. “The result: Enhanced fitness without breaking a sweat. The benefits cannot be overstated. When people practice Tai Chi, they develop basic athletic qualities like balance, power and strength, stamina, aerobic capacity, agility, flexibility, speed, accuracy and proprioception.”

“As for frequency, aim to practice a minimum of twice a week—that’s the number on which most studies are based. The more you practice, the bigger the health benefits. It’s self-care in the highest regard,” says Kirchhoff.

These benefits are offered twice a week by Vernon County Over 50. Over 50 seniors participate in live, virtual Tai Chi classes which are taught by a live instructor via Zoom on a giant screen television. The classes are offered at Care Cove (620 Garfield Ave. in Viroqua) and the Ontario Public Library on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-1:45 pm. No special equipment is needed, dress comfortably and it can even be done from a chair. Everyone is welcome to attend these drop-in classes which are supported by free-will donations. For questions, leave a message for Kay at 262-384-0082 or send an email to

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