The role of Tai Chi, cultural dancing, playing a musical instrument and singing in the prevention of chronic disease in Chinese older adults: a mind–body meditative approach
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Older adults with chronic diseases have a high level of depression and poor mental health status. Previous public health interventions have attempted to reduce chronic disease-related health risks including depression and improving mental health, but have had limited success. The present study examined whether 15 months of regular participation in Tai Chi (TC) exercise, dancing, instrument-playing and singing, as part of a mind-body meditative approach (MBMA), improves brain executive function, psychological functioning and mental health in Chinese older adults. Results indicated that the MBMA program improved participants' executive function, psychological functioning, mental health and resilience, compared to a control-group. These findings indicate that MBMA activities may be adopted as lifestyle approaches to promote mental health in different areas as follows: (1) Tai Chi and dancing have the biggest effect for reducing the prevalence of depression, and improving their mental health and resilience in older people with chronic conditions (3) Playing a musical instrument and singing have moderate effect for reducing depression symptoms and promoting mental health. The findings of the study suggest that there are mental health promotion implications relating to exercise type and minimal exercise dosage for older adults. Cultural dancing and TC may be a form of physical activity that is more likely to appeal to older people, when they are most at risk of being overweight or obese, of suffering from depression and/or of experiencing a decline in brain function. TC has been found to be highly effective in preventing depression and promoting brain executive function, and appears to be a form of physical activity that appeals to older people. Dancing, in combination with TC and singing, may be highly effective in protecting older adults from metabolic syndrome and brain-function decline, and in promoting a positive quality of life including psychological health. Playing a musical instrument may be used as an alternative method for maintaining good mental health in healthy people, and promoting mental health in people suffering from stress and its related depression and anxiety.
International Journal of Mental Health Promotion
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Treatments
PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES