Tai Chi classes improve well-being of Penarth residents


06 April 2017


Penarth Leisure Centre has hosted a programme of Thai Chi classes recently, as the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Exercise Referral team aims to help residents become more active.


tai chi group at Penarth Leisure CentreTai Chi Movements for Well-being classes have been running since January, and are for residents of the Vale that suffer from diverse health problems. The sequence of movements is designed to help regain and maintain flexibility and find a renewed vitality for the body. 


Tai Chi is a state of mental, physical and spiritual balance, and promotes good circulation, flexibility, and a relaxed and centred mind.


It helps release physical and mental tension and allows an element of self-expression, which is vital for confidence-building.


The movements are slow, to ensure that the Exercise Referral specialists can check for imbalances in posture and to allow any build-up in tension to be released.


One of the participants, Andrew Sutherland, was referred to the scheme by his GP following a heart attack. 


Mr Sutherland said: “After the by-pass surgery, I began seeing Craig Nichol, the Exercise Referral specialist at Penarth Leisure Centre, and gradually increased my fitness through treadmill exercises.


tai chi movements“For the last eight weeks, however, I have been joining the group at the Tai Chi classes; these have been made very sociable by Craig, and I have found that my mindfulness, as well as my fitness, has continued to improve.”


Another regular, Phil Gibbins, wished to point out the contribution of Craig, saying: “The whole group would really like to thank Craig, who, by creating a great atmosphere at the sessions, has made everyone feel very welcome.”


Mister Nichol, Exercise Referral Professional at Penarth Leisure Centre, has worked in the health and fitness industry for the last 20 years, and said of the scheme: “I am amazed at how popular the classes have become.


“Those taking part have continued to comment on how the sequences performed have benefitted their general well-being, and how enjoyable the classes have been.


“It is humbling to hear such positive feedback, and it is a pleasure to offer them such a fantastic service, which I believe in and thoroughly enjoy myself.”


Anyone aged 16 and over can be referred to the Exercise Referral Scheme by their GP for one of the following reasons: high blood pressure or cholesterol; physical inactivity; risk of heart disease; obesity; Osteoporosis; Diabetes; mental health; weight management.