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

Author: Shuen Yee Lee1, Ma Shwe Zin Nyunt2, Qi Gao3, Xinyi Gwee4, Denise Qian Ling Chua4, Keng Bee Yap5, Shiou Liang Wee1,6, Tze Pin Ng4,6
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Health and Social Sciences Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore. <sup>2</sup> Office of the Senior Deputy President &amp; Provost, National University of Singapore, Singapore. <sup>3</sup> National Public Health and Epidemiology Unit, National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore. <sup>4</sup> Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore. <sup>5</sup> Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Singapore. <sup>6</sup> Geriatric Education and Research Institute, Singapore.
Conference/Journal: Age Ageing
Date published: 2022 Apr 1
Other: Volume ID: 51 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: afac086 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1093/ageing/afac086. , Word Count: 245

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.

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.

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.

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

Keywords: Taiji; cognitive; long-term; mind–body; multidimensional frailty; observational study; older people.

PMID: 35380607 DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afac086