I always feel lucky to have a fitness instructor that has real-world knowledge of how exercise can have a positive and lasting effect on one’s life. Perry Bennett is just such a person. A Tai-Chi instructor for ParkLives in Birmingham, he helps others to stay fit and healthy, connecting body and mind for a relaxing, healthful experience.
Having started out in martial arts in 1977, he was a student of Judo and Aikido and after many years of competitive training he became a chief instructor in both disciplines and spent his time touring around England teaching others. In 1997, suddenly and without warning, he felt the normal aches and pains of a physical life accelerate to an extreme degree. After an enforced layoff with a recurring ankle injury, he found himself unable to train as he had done in the past. Several years later, he was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints which can lead to deformation and loss of function.
Perry did 6 months of physio through the NHS and BUPA, but decided that he needed to take control over his own recovery in order to make a lasting change. It was around this time that his father invited him to a Tai Chi class. Perry had started years before on the advice of his physio and studied for the next 13 years. In 2012 he was asked to become an instuctor and found himself teaching Tai Chi for health and wellbeing for Parklives, in the parks of Birmingham, which seemed a normal progression after his many years of study of the martial arts. Coupled with an active lifestyle that included lots of walking as well, Perry has regained 90% of his former mobility. When asked for his advice for anyone interested in try Tai Chi he said, “Do it. Just take the plunge!” “Carry on, and don’t stop!”
How can Tai Chi help you? Harvard Health Publications has described Tai Chi as “Medication in Motion” rather than Meditation in Motion. There is a growing body of evidence that Tai Chi is one of the best forms low-impact exercise out there. According to mayoclinic.org, these are some of the benefits of Tai Chi:
Decreased stress and anxiety
Increased aerobic capacity
Increased energy and stamina
Increased flexibility, balance and agility
Increased muscle strength and definition
Since tai chi is non competitive and needs very little space, it’s easy to do anywhere and can be fun in a group rather than stressful. Go on, give it a try!
If you’d like to join Perry for one of his classes they are:
Tuesdays Cofton Park: 10:30-11:30
Thurdays Walkers Heath Park 12-1, Billesley Tennis Centre 2-3
Sign up for these classes via www.parklives.com and don't forget your BetterPoints!