ETMC celebrates 20 years of Tai Chi

ETMC celebrates 20 years of Tai Chi
(Source: KLTV staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas Medical Center has been offering Tai Chi for 20 years and dozens of East Texans are swearing by the workout.

The women and men in ETMC Olympic Center gym all move in slow synchronization focusing on their breathing.

The students say they are believers of the health benefits that come from doing the ancient Chinese martial art.

"Tai Chi has really helped me going, and moving! It's really good for muscles, joints, and balance. I am a big believer," said Jan Knowles, who has been taking the class for 20 years.

Tai Chi is a slow and graceful form of exercise used for stress reduction, balance, and posture.

The national institute of aging promotes Tai Chi as a way to stay healthy later in life.

"It's fantastic for joints, keeping joints healthy from elbows, knees. Just from head to toe," said instructor Brandon Jones.

Typically, the ETMC class has over a dozen students during each session, but Jones says that was not the case when the course began 20 years ago.

"We first started back in '98 and ETMC was actually a pioneer in that. Very few people knew what Tai Chi was in the Tyler area," said Jones. "We were able to visit, start a class and get it incorporated, get it started."

Jones says there are about five students that have been here since the beginning.

Each one has their own reason for joining.

"I was just following her," Said Jack Brown, as he points to his wife.

Jean Brown quickly chimes in, "I thought it would be great for balance."

The students all agree they have seen some sort of health improvements after committing to Tai Chi for two decades.

"I've been on my feet, and I haven't had any falls which seniors are really good at doing," said Jean Brown.

Even after 20 years, these students have no plans of slowing down. Instead, they encourage others to join.

"Just try it! You need to move even if you have a little pain," said student Diane Martin.

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