Older persons participation in hard martial arts: Opportunities to improve psychological well-being? a scoping review

Dan Sullivan, Mike Climstein, Brian Moore, Luke Del Vecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to explore the potential psychological and cognitive advantages for older individuals engaged in hard martial arts (HMA), through a comprehensive scoping review of literature up to 2023. Specifically, it examines the extent of changes in cognition, mental state, and quality of life among elderly participants of HMA. Inclusion criteria were studies conducted on healthy persons who were over 50 years of age. Only papers published in the English language were included. The search was undertaken in electronic databases and sources of grey literature. Thirteen papers with a total of 514 participants met the inclusion criteria. Improved cognition and decreased levels of anxiety and depression were emerging themes. Together, these factors contributed to the quality of life of participants. HMA was found to benefit cognitive abilities and psychological well-being, increasing quality of life more than traditional exercise alone. Findings suggested duration of training influenced change more than frequency. The limited number of studies exploring the effects of HMA on mental wellness and cognitive ability in older adults underscores the need for further research. The findings of this review suggest cognitive and quality of life improvements and reduced depression and anxiety in individuals engaging in HMA. This review serves as a foundation for soundly designed future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science
Volume17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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