Say goodbye to pain: David's life transformed by Tai Chi
WHEN Lake Haven's David Ross speaks of Tai Chi changing his life, it is no cliché.
David, 62, now shares his passion with others, teaching up to 10 Tai Chi sessions per week in parks across the Central Coast.
He's a very different man to the one who, after a back injury at 45 in 2001 and two failed spinal operations, found himself powerless to move from the couch due to chronic pain.
Unable to work, go out or socialise, David freely admits having slipped into hopelessness and depression.
The physical and mental pain continued day after day for three years, with the only mainstream medical answer being pain medication which put him on what he describes as "an emotional roller coaster".
When he saw an advertisement for Tai Chi in the newspaper, he thought it was worth a try.
"By the end of the first hour-long class, I was hooked," David said.
It wasn't an instant cure-all, but David said as the weeks passed and he started to get used to the moves and able to stretch more, he also found his back pain easing.
"Without knowing it, I was building the strength in my legs and starting to build my core strength, which helps the back," he said.
Slowly, he started to gain confidence, energy and rejoin the world socially.
"I've been doing Tai Chi for over 10 years now and have graduated from a student to an instructor for the Australian Academy of Tai Chi and Qigong," David said.
"I believe everyone over the age of 50 should do Tai Chi."
He said the low-impact exercise and slow rhythmic movements "re-awakened the body" and were "ideal for people who no longer fancy running on a treadmill or lifting weights," as well as those recovering from injury or surgery.
"It helps to relieve aches and pains, improves flexibility, stability, corrects posture and calms the mind."
For Seniors, the improvement Tai Chi could provide in muscle tone, strength, bone density and particularly balance were vital.
"Balance is a very important part of your everyday life," he said.
Deteriorating balance often led to lack of confidence and reluctance to take part in run-of-the-mill activities as simple as doing the shopping, gardening, taking part in meetings, hobbies or sport, or just catching up with friends.
The result is diminishing quality of life and a spiral towards depression.
While he's the first to admit it's not easy to take that first step, he encourages anyone who can relate to his story or just wants to improve their health to give Tai Chi a go.
"I've been there and I know how hard it is, but you've got nothing to lose," he said.
David's was one of 100 inspiring Seniors stories from throughout the state to be included in Seniors' Stories Volume 3, published to mark Seniors Week last year.
To inquire about a free trial class at Hamlyn Terrace, Morisett, East Gosford or Davistown, phone David on 0410050080.