The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of regular taekwondo (TKD) training on physical fitness, neurotrophic growth factors, cerebral blood flow (CBF) velocity, and cognitive function in elderly women. Thirty-seven women aged 65 or older were randomly assigned to either TKD (n
= 19) or control (n
= 18) group. TKD training was performed at 50–80% maximum heart rate (HRmax) for 60 min, five times per week for 16 weeks. All participants underwent the following examinations before and after the intervention: Senior Fitness Test; serum levels of neurotrophic growth factors, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1); systolic, diastolic, and mean blood flow velocity and pulsatility index of the middle cerebral artery using Doppler ultrasonography; Mini-Mental State Examination for dementia screening (MMSE-DS); and Stroop Color and Word Test (word, color, and color-word). In the TKD group, lower body strength and flexibility, aerobic endurance levels, BDNF, VEGF, and IGF-1 serum levels as well as the color-word test scores were significantly increased after as compared to before the intervention (p
< 0.05). No statistically significant differences were found in cerebral blood flow velocities and the MMSE-DS score (p
> 0.05). These findings suggest that regular TKD training may be effective in improving not only fitness but also cognitive function in elderly women. The latter effect may be due to increased neurotrophic growth factor levels.
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