Background: Cognitive decline and balance impairment are prevalent in the aging population. Previous studies investigated the beneficial effects of 24-style Tai Chi (TC-24) on either cognitive function or balance performance of older adults. It still remains largely unknown whether modified Chen-style TC (MTC) that includes 18 complex movements is more beneficial for these age-related health outcomes, as compared to TC-24.
Objective: We investigated if MTC would show greater effects than TC-24 on global cognitive function and balance-related outcomes among older adults.
Methods: We conducted a randomized trial where 80 eligible adults aged over 55 were allocated into two different styles of Tai Chi (TC) arms (sixty-minute session × three times per week, 12 weeks). Outcome assessments were performed at three time periods (baseline, Week 6, and Week 12) and included the Chinese Version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) for overall cognitive function, One-leg Standing Test (LST) for static balance, Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT) for dynamic balance, chair Stand Test (CST) for leg power, and the six-meter Walk Test (6MWT) for aerobic exercise capacity.
Results: Compared to TC-24 arm, MTC arm demonstrated significantly greater improvements in MoCA, LST, TUGT, CST, and 6MWT (all p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Both forms of TC were effective in enhancing global cognitive function, balance, and fitness. Furthermore, MTC was more effective than TC-24 in enhancing these health-related parameters in an aging population.
Keywords: Tai Chi; aging; balance; cognition; mind-body exercise.