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Don't let age knock you down

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"Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance" is a class offered to older adults and people with balance disorders. The class will run 9-10 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday, Sept. 12 to Nov. 30, at the Benedictine Health Center, 935 Kenwood Ave.

Having been successful in Ely, Grand Rapids and Silver Bay for about a year, the Tai Ji Quan class made its way to Duluth a year ago. The upcoming session is the third time the class is being taught in Duluth.

"Adding the Duluth branch was a part of the agency's plan to increase capacity," said Rebecca Sash, evidence-based health programs coordinator at the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging. "Some of our instructors wanted to learn Tai Ji and become instructors for it, so it was a good fit for our community and older population that we have in Duluth."

The class is part of the agency's Falls Prevention Coalition, a program that informs people of ways to prevent falling and what to do if someone does fall or get injured. Falls account for 40 percent of injury-related deaths in older adults, and most falls around the home occur during routine activities, according to the coalition.

Tai Ji Quan teaches eight core movements and therapeutic movements to help strengthen the body and build stability. The exercises can be done completely seated through sit-and-stand, to chair-assisted, free-standing or stepping.

Instructor Randy Correll is returning to volunteer his time leading the third session. Correll likes to teach the classes because then he is guaranteed to get out and actually do it. He notices by the end of the program his balance has improved, too.

"It forces me to keep going and I am optimistic that by the end of this next class, my balance will have even more improvement," Correll said.

The class starts off slowly and steadily to learn the basic form and warm-up. As the progression continues, more movements are added to continue challenging the body.

"Our goal at the end of the 12 weeks, is to have all the students be able to continue the exercises on their own," Correll said.

To register for the class call Rebecca Sash at (218) 529-7531. For more information on preventing falls visit twinportsfallsprevention.org.

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