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Mind Body Meditative Approach

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

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

Jing Suna, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Parkland, Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia
Ning Zhang, Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, Chang Shu Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Fu Yang Road, Chang Shu, Jiangsu 215500, P.R. China
Nicholas Buysa, Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Parkland, Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia
Zheng-Yuan Zhou, Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, Chang Shu Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Fu Yang Road, Chang Shu, Jiangsu 215500, P.R. China
Shu-Ying Shen, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chang Shu Health Inspection Institute, 6 Fu Yang Road, Chang Shu, Jiangsu 2155006, P.R. China
Bao-Jun Yuan, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Jiangsu Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 172 Jiangsu Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210009, P.R. China

Abstract

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 diseaserelated health risks including depression and to improve mental health, but have had limited success.This study examinedwhether 15months of regular participation inTaiChi (TC) exercise, dancing, instrument playing and singing, as part of a mind–bodymeditative approach (MBMA), improves brain executive function, psychological functioning and mental health in Chinese older adults. Results indicated that the MBMA programme improved participants’ executive function, psychological functioning, mental health and resilience, compared with a control group. These findings indicate thatMBMA activities may be adopted as lifestyle approaches to promote mental health in different areas as follows: (1) TC and dancing have the biggest effect for reducing the prevalence of depression and for improving their mental health and resilience in older people with chronic conditions and (2) playing amusical instrument and singing have moderate effect for reducing depression symptoms and promotingmental 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 ismore likely to appeal to older people, when they aremost 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 for promoting mental health in people suffering from stress and its related depression and anxiety.

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