- Among older adults with or without cognitive impairment, mind-body exercises (tai chi, yoga, and dance) were safe and improved measures of cognition, but benefit was significant only at moderate intensity.
Why this matters
- Increasing population of older adults.
- Lack of effective treatments for dementia.
- Compared with control, mind-body exercises were superior for improving:
- Global cognition (mean difference, 0.92; P=.002);
- Cognitive flexibility (mean difference, –8.80; P=.007);
- Working memory (mean difference, 0.32; P=.05);
- Verbal fluency (standardized mean difference, 0.27; P=.003);
- Learning (standardized mean difference, 0.24; P=.001).
- No significant benefit for processing speed.
- Global cognition significantly better with moderate exercise intensity (60-120 minutes weekly) (mean difference, 1.15; P=.006) but not with lower or higher intensity.
- Adverse events:
- 6 trials reported none;
- 1 reported groin muscle strain with yoga;
- 1 reported fall with injury with control;
- 1 reported 2 minor musculoskeletal injuries with tai chi.
- Systematic review and meta-analysis of 32 randomized controlled trials among 3624 older adults with or without impairment.
- Main outcomes: measures of cognitive function.
- Funding: National Natural Science Foundation of China; Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province.
- Heterogeneity across trials.
- Lack of blinding in most.