Harnessing habits to increase physical activity in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Subjective Cognitive Decline.
For older people experiencing decline to their memory and thinking skills, keeping physically active is important to maintain brain health and reduce risk of dementia. Despite this, over 80% of older Australians do not do enough physical activity in their daily lives. To date, interventions to help people increase their physical activity levels have involved setting goals, planning and self-monitoring, which are challenging for people with thinking and memory difficulties. Recent research suggests that automatic, every-day habits play an important role in maintaining physical activity levels over the long-term. The current project aims to target these habits to help people with mild cognitive impairments create healthy, automatic habits of regular physical activity, that are easy to maintain over the long-term. To achieve this, we will develop and pilot the Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial (HABIT), a personalised physical activity behaviour change intervention for people with mild cognitive impairment. The results of the HABIT pilot will be used to guide a larger community trial of the intervention, and produce practical advice for people experiencing thinking and memory declines about how to use habit to increase their everyday physical activity to levels that are beneficial for brain and cognitive health.