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Association of Tai Chi exercise with physical and neurocognitive functions, frailty, quality of life and mortality in older adults: Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study

journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-22, 02:13 authored by Shuen Yee Lee, Ma Shwe Zin Nyunt, Qi Gao, Xinyi Gwee, Denise Qian Ling Chua, Keng Bee Yap, Shiou Liang WeeShiou Liang Wee, Tze Pin Ng

Background: real-world observations on the long-term benefits of Tai Chi (TC) exercise, in terms of physical and cognitive functioning, frailty, quality of life (QOL) and mortality are lacking.

Methods: prospective cohort study participants were community-dwelling adults aged 55+, including 5,407 non-frequent TC participants (<1x/week) and 572 frequent TC participants (≥1x/week). Outcome measures at baseline and 3–5 years follow-up included physical performance (Knee Extension Strength, POMA Balance and Gait, Timed-up-and-go, Gait Speed) and neurocognitive performance (attention and working memory, visual-motor tracking and mental flexibility, verbal learning and memory, visual memory, spatial and constructional ability), Frailty Index ≥0.10, impaired QOL (SF12 physical and mental component) and all-cause mortality from mean 13 years follow-up. Effect estimates were adjusted for socio-demographics, other physical activities, nutritional risk and presence of cardiometabolic diseases.

Results: frequent TC participation was associated with 0.7-fold lower prevalence of impaired physical QOL [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.57–0.91], decreased 0.4-fold odds of incident prefrailty/frailty among robust participants at baseline and 0.7-fold odds of impaired mental QOL at follow-up among participants with normal mental QOL at baseline. Lower odds of mortality risk (HR = 0.89, 95%CI = 0.72–1.09) were not significant after controlling for socioeconomic, behavioural and health factors. Composite indexes of physical functional and neurocognitive performance were maintained at high level or increased at follow-up among frequent TC participants.

Conclusion: TC exercise practised among community-dwelling older adults is associated with better physical, cognitive and functional wellbeing.


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Age and Ageing

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