Who we are Case studies Strengthen your mind and body with Thai Chi. Keeping fit is something that can impact the lives of almost everyone, but finding an activity that fits your personal lifestyle can be difficult, especially if you’re a beginner. Nikki at TACT in Telford is offering an activity which is proving to be suitable for just about anyone, and it’s an incredible programme to be part of. Thai Chi teaches you basic principles to work the mind and body through soft movements that encourage balance, breathing and concentration. From the moment you enter the class, Nikki is there to greet you, along with all the keen regulars that are helping to clear the work space. Light chat and laughter is apparent and from just a few brief introductions you can already recognise the diversity amongst the group. Nikki starts the class with some gentle hand movements and silence quickly fills the room. Janet* 72 from Newport attends the session every week. She is partially deaf and worries about leaving the house. Janet hasn’t much of a social network but found out about the Thai Chi class from a ladies brunch that she attends locally. Janet has said the class has impacted her life socially as well as physically. Being partially deaf, she struggles to follow instructions and so therefore learning new skills is a challenge. But because Thai Chi is made up of slow and gentle movements which are repeated several times, she is able to watch, follow and conduct the movements herself. This she says has improved her confidence, because being deaf doesn’t leave her at any disadvantage and she is able to keep up with the rest of the class. She finds she’s comfortable leaving her home to attend Thai Chi, and looks forward to seeing everybody. Kim* is new to the class and wants to get fit. She struggles to keep concentration because her thoughts are too busy. She finds when she attends Nikki’s class that her mind and thoughts are clearer, and this helps her focus on her goals. She enjoys the class because the slow movements gives her time to concentrate more, but also time to stop for a quick tea break in between sets. Kim’s goal is to strengthen her core muscles, as she struggles with body confidence. Her lack of knowledge in health and fitness has made this goal difficult but Thai Chi has given her that first platform in progressing. Kim also enjoys being around like minded people. A happy gentleman who suffers with mobility also attends the class. He is usually the first one there and the last one to leave. He sits at the back and manages the movements to the best of his ability. After a brief encounter with him, he shares that he finds the class beneficial to his mental wellbeing because despite his disability he is treated no different. He adjusts the movements to suit his ability and fully enjoys the physical benefits it gives his upper body. Being a keen sportsperson myself but having never tried Thai chi, I found it somewhat testing. My movements were too sharp, my balance was off centre and my breathing was out of time, but sometimes slowing down, concentrating and clearing your mind is the first step to progressing. And Nikki’s Thai Chi class is definitely a fun and welcome place to start.