In January 2019 researchers from China published the results of their study to assess whether long-term Tai Chi exercise could slow cognitive decline and improve emotional stability in a group of elderly individuals. Individuals with no Tai Chi experience were matched in age, gender and physical activity level to individuals with long term Tai Chi experience and acted as a control group. Each individual in the study undertook a series of tests as well as a sequential risk-taking task which were then assessed. Results showed that the individuals with long-term Tai Chi experience had a higher meditation level, stronger emotional stability and a lower risk-taking tendency when compared to the control group. A further analysis revealed that the gray matter volume of the thalamus and hippocampus (both found in the brain) was larger in the Tai Chi group compared with the control group. In addition, the gray matter volume of the thalamus appeared to be associated with both an improved meditation level and greater emotional stability. The researchers concluded by stating that long-term Tai Chi was seen to slow cognitive decline, improve emotional stability and achieved successful aging for elders.
Liu S et al. Long-Term Tai Chi Experience Promotes Emotional Stability and Slows Gray Matter Atrophy for Elders. Front Psychol. 2019 Jan 30;10:91