Free Tai Chi for seniors helps prevent falls

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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - At the Monroe Street Neighborhood Center, some mornings there's a certain calm.

Combine it with exercise and that routine experience is said to help with overall health and well-being.

The focus comes from classes called "Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance." They're funded by a grant through the Area Office on Aging and put on by the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

For senior citizens, the classes are free.

"It's good for the lungs. It's good for the whole body, as well as your spirit," says Al Woods, who instructs one of the Tai Chi classes.

Woods is a retired Toledo Police officer who used to walk with a cane. Since he started routinely practicing Tai Chi, Woods no longer needs one.

Connie and Gordon Ward have been doing Tai Chi for more than 30 years. They swear by it.

"Just to get some beneficial relaxation and exercise at the same time," says Connie Ward, who's best known in Toledo as "Miss Connie" from Romper Room.

Her husband, former 13abc Anchor Gordon Ward, adds, "and this is specifically for old folks so we can keep ourselves from falling."

These Tai Chi classes, in particular, are tailored for seniors to help them with balance.

"Falls have become a major public health issue," says Tai Chi instructor Dennis Hicks, "So that's how the tie-in with the health department began."

For more information about the classes, follow the link on this page.