Medinah Park District offers tai chi for arthritis and fall prevention

  • Students Joyce M., left and Elaine A., center, warm up for tai chi with instructor Diana Nielsen.

    Students Joyce M., left and Elaine A., center, warm up for tai chi with instructor Diana Nielsen. Courtesy of B. Adams

Updated 6/29/2021 12:22 PM

The Medinah Park District will be hosting a Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention class from 6-7 p.m. Thursdays, July 15 to Aug. 19, at the Connolly Recreation Center, 22W130 Thorndale Ave, Medinah.

Register in advance by calling (630) 893-2560 or visiting Cost is $60 for six, one-hour sessions. Class size is limited, so register early.


The classes are taught by Diana Nielsen, a licensed occupational therapy assistant and certified instructor for the Tai Chi for Health Institute. Each class consists of warm-up and cool down exercises, a review of previous moves and instruction on one or two new moves in a positive and supportive environment.

The Amita Health Rehabilitation Hospital, 935 Beisner Road, Elk Grove Village, also will be hosting two classes, one at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays, starting July 6, and another at 10 a.m. Saturdays, starting July 10. Register in advance for these classes by calling (847) 981-5556, option 2. Pandemic precautions will vary based on the location and can be checked when registering for the class.

Over the past 25 years, there have been almost 500 studies performed on the many health benefits of tai chi. Tai chi has been shown to increase strength, balance and flexibility; decrease falls in older adults; and reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis.

While one does not need to have arthritis or balance difficulties to enjoy tai chi, the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Program is an evidence-based program recommended by the Arthritis Foundation, the CDC and the National Council on Aging to reduce arthritis pain and fall risk; to increase balance, strength and flexibility; and to reduce stress.

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The Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Program uses the Sun style of tai chi, which has been modified to make it gentle on the joints, easy to learn and significantly safer for older adults.

Often described as "meditation in motion," it consists of slow, continuous movements with a focus on body awareness, posture, weight shifting and calming the mind.

The Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Program improves balance by increasing strength and the awareness of body posture and weight shifting, a surprising cause of falls in older adults.

Students with balance or safety concerns can begin tai chi seated or use a chair for support until their balance improves, and they can perform the movements standing with safety and confidence.

For more information, email instructor Diana Nielsen at

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