The purpose of this article is to review the potential of Tai Chi Chuan as a mode of physical activity that could have cognitive benefits for older adults and to provide potential directions for future research. A brief introduction to Tai Chi Chuan and its related physical benefits is provided. In addition, the empirical literature related to Tai Chi Chuan and cognition is reviewed. Potential mediators of the relationship between Tai Chi Chuan and cognition, including physical resources, disease status, and mental resources, are discussed. Based on the limitations of the extant literature, it is argued that future research in this area must provide more detailed descriptions of Tai Chi Chuan, particularly in terms of intensity and program progression. Consideration of the specific type of cognition that is expected to benefit is also encouraged, and approaches for further efforts to understand how Tai Chi Chuan affects cognition are recommended.
Chang is with the Graduate Institute of Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sport University, Taoyuan County, Taiwan. Nien is with the Dept. of Exercise Performance Arts, Physical Education College, Taipei, Taiwan. Tsai is with the Institute of Physical Education, Health and Leisure Studies, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan. Etnier is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.