Effects of Mind-Body Qigong Exercise on Overall Health, Fatigue/Sleep, and Cognition in Older Chinese Immigrants in the US: An Intervention Study with Control

Author: Jianghong Liu1, Yi Yang1, Clara Li2, Adriana Perez1, Adrian Raine1, Haoer Shi1, Liye Zou3
1 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
2 Department of Psychiatry, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA.
3 Body-Brain-Mind Laboratory, School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China.
Conference/Journal: J Aging Res
Date published: 2024 Jan 31
Other: Volume ID: 2024 , Pages: 2481518 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2024/2481518. , Word Count: 235

Culturally relevant exercises may help improve health and address disparities faced by older immigrants due to language and cultural barriers. Few studies have focused on such exercise interventions among older Chinese immigrants at US daycare centers.

We conducted a 10-week nonrandomized controlled trial in older Chinese immigrants in Philadelphia, US. The intervention group practiced Chinese Qigong (Baduanjin) 5 days a week guided by trained research assistants and video instructions. The control group maintained their usual daily activities. We collected self-report assessments on overall health, sleep, and fatigue and implemented two computerized cognitive tests measuring psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and memory twice, preintervention and postintervention. Repeated measures general linear model (GLM) and paired samples t-tests were used for data analyses.

Eighty-eight older adults (Qigong, n = 53; control, n = 35) with an average age of 78.13 (SD = 5.05) were included. Groups showed no significant differences at baseline evaluation. After the 10-week exercise, the intervention group showed significant improvements in overall health (p=0.032), fatigue (p < 0.001), and cognitive functions including memory (p=0.01), response speed (p=0.002), and response time (p=0.012) on the PVT, as well as marginally significant benefits in sleep (p=0.058). Between-group comparisons identified significant group-by-time interactions in health (p=0.024), sleep (p=0.004), fatigue (p=0.004), and memory (p=0.004).

We revealed significant positive effects of Qigong in older Chinese immigrants across multiple health domains. Findings highlight the potential of a culturally relevant exercise in addressing health disparities.

PMID: 38333772 PMCID: PMC10849816 DOI: 10.1155/2024/2481518