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Abstract Title:

Tai chi improves psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abstract Source:

Exp Gerontol. 2021 Apr 19 ;150:111363. Epub 2021 Apr 19. PMID: 33887380

Abstract Author(s):

Rima Solianik, Dalia Mickevičienė, Laura Žlibinaitė, Agnė Čekanauskaitė

Article Affiliation:

Rima Solianik


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a 10-week tai chi intervention on psychoemotional state, cognition, and motor learning in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants aged 60-78 years were randomized to either a control group (n = 15) or a tai chi group (n = 15) for a 10-week period. The tai chi group received two, 8-form tai chi classes of 60 min duration per week. Changes in psychoemotional state, cognition, and the learning of fast and accurate reaching movements were assessed. In addition, the potential roles of the autonomic nervous system and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) were investigated. Tai chi practice decreased (P < 0.05) perceived stress, whereas no change in autonomic nervous system activity was observed. Improvements in mental switching correlated with decreased depressive symptoms and increased BDNF levels (P < 0.05), whereas improvements in inhibitory control tended to correlate with BDNF levels (P = 0.08). Improvements in visuospatial processing tended to correlate with decreased depressive symptoms (P = 0.07) while improved visuospatial processing correlated with improved motor planning during learning tasks (P < 0.05). This study suggests that tai chi is an effective intervention that can be delivered under pandemic conditions to improve mental and physical function in older adults.

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