Lorain County’s Tai Chi for Arthritis series expanding

No matter how slow or steady, the goal of the Lorain Public Library System’s Tai Chi for Arthritis series is to get seniors moving.

As participants rotate, twist and stretch their hips, hands, legs and torsos, instructor Michael Stadul tells them during a session Sept. 25 at the South Lorain Branch, 2121 Homewood Drive in Lorain, that any motion, no matter how slow, is vital to their health.

“I hope you practice these things at home, as much as you can,” Stadul said. “Remember gang, it’s most important to do something when you go home.

“Do something; even if you do it wrong, it’s better to do that than to sit at home and do that 100 percent right.”

Stadul has stuck with tai chi since his first class in 1984 and became a certified tai chi for arthritis instructor four years ago.

Now, he holds classes in  other library locations: the Elyria Public Library System’s West River Branch, 1194 W. River Road; and Amherst Public Library, 221 Spring St. in Amherst.

Stadul also teaches tai chi at the Rocky River Senior Center, 21014 Hilliard Blvd. in Rocky River.

“This is zero impact,” Stadul said of tai chi’s benefit to seniors. “At the same time, it’s weight-bearing exercises. We’re always shifting our weight from one side to another, always twisting, always turning.”

Hourlong classes begin with a warm-up and usually integrate a new exercise every week. 

Stadul said tai chi also is good for alleviating pain, improving ranging of mobility and balance and preventing and in some cases reversing osteoporosis.

Participant Julianne Nau, 47, of Elyria, said she has utilized tai chi for two years and has seen benefits.

“I always have fun when I come here,” Nau said. “It helps me stretch out in the morning since I was told I have arthritis … It’s my hands mostly that I came for but it’s also my back and everything.”

Kymada Lasalle, 70, of Lorain, said attending tai chi classes have proven to reduce her back pain more than therapy and yoga have.

“I’ve been noticing that I haven’t been having so much stress on my back and my thighs that I used to have,” Lasalle said.

Although Lasalle started taking classes at the beginning of this year, she said she’s seeing the series gain popularity.

“I recommend it for any ages who can stand and do the movements,” she said. “I’m seeing ti grow more and more and more. People are getting that we’re here.”