Exercise For Improved Brain Health

Take a ride on your bike, lift some weights, join a gym… it’s easy to add regular aerobic exercise and resistance training to your lifestyle.

And it’s been shown that changing aspects of your life such as exercise levels can make a real difference to reducing the risk of dementias including Alzheimer’s disease.


Have a Go

Why not take a walk around a park near you? Parkrun is a free community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate. The 5k parkrun takes place every Saturday morning in parks all over Australia. There is no time limit and no one finishes last.

A recent study from Finland has shown that lifestyle modifications that include adopting a healthy diet, carrying out regular aerobic and resistance exercise, staying socially active, and participating in brain training exercises can improve brain function and reduce the risk of dementia.


The Brain Link

There’s a well-established link between exercise and brain health.

“Exercise helps the body in various ways: reducing brain inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, improving circulation and release of molecules like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which help brain function and memory.” Kirsty Woods – Accredited Exercise Physiologist – AU-ARROW

If you are eating a healthy diet, doing regular strenuous exercise, and doing resistance training (also known as strength or weight training), you are helping to reduce the risk of dementia. Kirsty says a holistic approach to lifestyle is ideal.


AU-ARROW study

The AU-ARROW study, which is being conducted by the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, is taking an in-depth look at how lifestyle modifications might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Changing the habits of a lifetime by choosing healthy eating options and doing regular exercise is part of what’s covered in the study. It also looks at helping people stay socially active and engaging in brain training exercises.

Researchers at AARF are now gathering data which will help in the search for answers.


International Interest

The study has attracted international interest, including presentations at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego (2022) and in the Netherlands (2023).

The AU-ARROW project is primarily funded by a Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant, a US Alzheimer’s Association grant, and with funding from Alzheimer’s WA, the Lions Alzheimer’s Foundation, the Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (AARF), Macquarie University and Edith Cowan University.

The AU-ARROW study is a member of the worldwide consortium, called World-Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS) to enable data sharing and greater international collaboration.