Belinda Brown

Sustaining exercise to enhance cognition: A feasibility study

Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Pilot Grant
Project Snapshot

Over the past two decades, research has consistently shown that older adults undertaking regular physical activity have better memory and thinking skills and a lower risk of dementia. However, in studies where people are allocated to exercise interventions, there are not always observed effects on memory and thinking. One contributing factor to the varied results across previous studies may be the lack of high-intensity exercise delivered within interventions, which has been shown to provide significant benefits to the brain. In addition, although supervised exercise studies in older adults usually report good attendance, they often don’t contribute to long-term changes in exercise habits. Prior to undertaking a large-scale study that would address the above, it is necessary to conduct a smaller, ‘pilot’ study. We will determine the feasibility of delivering high-intensity exercise coupled with behavioural change techniques and education to older adults, with the ultimate aim of enhancing brain health. The programme will include behavioural change techniques and education, with the objective of giving individuals the tools required to change their long-term exercise habits.