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Tai Chi

Exercise is an important activity for people of all ages. We get our exercise – some of us more than others – in a variety of different ways: we run, we walk, we ride our bicycles, some of us kickbox or play our favorite sport.
A group at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center has chosen a different option for exercise, one that has been practiced for many, many centuries, but has not achieved the popularity of other activities in Northeast Tennessee: Tai Chi.
Led by instructor Bob Hechemovich, the group meets each Friday morning in the senior center’s activity center on Elm Street in Erwin. After a recent class, Hechemovich said this centuries-old exercise is ideal for senior adults.
“The thing I think is good, as far as the senior population taking it, is that it teaches balance,” he said. “It’s a low-impact exercise and it’s been proven to be a very good cardiovascular exercise as well … It also helps with reflex speed.”
While Tai Chi is an exercise suited for senior adults, it can be practiced by people of all ages, the instructor said.
“You don’t have to be a senior to take it and still get the benefits out of it,” he added. “It’s great exercise.”
Hechemovich, a Unicoi County resident, has practiced Tai Chi for 15 years and has been an instructor for most of the past decade. He said he had been “fascinated” by this martial art for many years before trying it for the first time. His interest in Tai Chi quickly grew after his first lessons. Soon he sought out other instructors to learn as much as he could.
“The more and more I did it, the more fascinated I became,” he said.
Hechemovich, who is also a certified personal trainer, began teaching Tai Chi at the request of a group of individuals who were interested in learning how to do it.
“They asked me if I could teach them and I said, ‘Sure,’ ” he said. “One thing led to another, and I started some classes at a fitness center and now I teach here as well.”
Hechemovich said Tai Chi educates the practitioner about the the mechanics of bodily movement.
“It’s human physics, it’s how you move and how to move effortlessly with the most effectiveness,” he said. “It’s fascinating.”
Hechemovich has been teaching this martial art at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center for four years. He said last week that the response to the class has been positive.
“Tai Chi isn’t for everybody,” he added. “I always tell people, ‘Try it and see what it’s like. If you don’t like it, it’s fine, you don’t have to do it.”

For more information about Hechemovich’s Tai Chi class, call the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center at 743-5111.

For the remainder of this article please pick up the March 27 2012 edition of The Erwin Record.