As a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise, Baduanjin has been documented to have a positive effect on cognitive and physical function in a wide range of populations, but it is unclear whether it helps improve motor function in patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI). The aim of this two-arm, randomized, parallel controlled study was to explore the rehabilitation effect of Baduanjin exercise on motor function in patients with PSCI.
Forty-eight patients with PSCI were randomly assigned to control and intervention groups. The control group received health education sessions on stroke prevention and rehabilitation. The intervention group received Baduanjin training in addition to the health education intervention. Before and after the 24-week intervention, both groups completed the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Manual Muscle Test (MMT), Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), and Three-Dimensional Gait Analysis (3DGA).
After the 24-week intervention, both groups showed significant improvements in the FMA, BBS, MMT and MAS test results, but the Baduanjin group exhibited significantly better FMA, BBS and MMT test results than the control group (all P < 0.05). Furthermore, the Baduanjin exercise group showed significant improvements in spatial gait parameters, including the step length, walking speed and cadence, which were significantly better than the control group (all P < 0.05). No adverse events were reported during the study period.
The 24-week Baduanjin exercise training may improve the limb motor function, balance, muscle strength and gait function of individuals with PSCI.

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