Body Brain Fitness

Body Brain Fitness
 Living with a Neurological Condition

Body Brain FitnessTM has been developed by experienced Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists from Rehab on the Move, a leading private neurological rehab team. The program is , based on the latest research, to help delay the onset of dementia and memory loss whilst promoting physical fitness for people who have difficulty accessing regular gyms and sports activities.

Research has demonstrated that people with a brain injury are more likely to experience dementia, which often occurs earlier in life than the general population[1]. The good news is  it has also been proven that rich and varied cognitive stimulation can help delay the onset of dementia by a number of years[2] and regular participation in exercise[3].

This Body Brain FitnessTM  program has been developed to assist people living with a neurological condition (physical and cognitive) to access new learning opportunities[4]. Body Brain Fitness also allows people to participate in physical exercise and cognitively challenging activities in a social context.

Our therapists select activities that are challenging but achievable based on the cognitive ability of each participant. Each participant has their individual goals associated with cognition, communication, physical status, socialisation and activity participation.

General Aims of BBF for People Living with a Neurological Disability

  • Slow down the onset of dementia and memory loss
  • Increase muscle strength and cardiac fitness
  • Improve balance and reduce the risk of falls
  • Improve memory and problem solving skills
  • Increase thought processing speed
  • Improve visual spatial skills
  • Improve fine hand function
  • Improve communication and social skills
  • Introduce new leisure activities
  • Participate in purposeful activity
  • Build friendships and improve quality of life

Components of BBF for People Living with a Neurological Disability

1. Physical Exercise

Body Brain Fitness includes resistance and cardiovascular exercises.

Research shows that specific regular physical exercises

  • Assists with the growth and survival of your brain cells
  • Improves your brain function especially problem solving and multi-tasking
  • Maximises the benefits of brain training
  • Reduces the risk of falls

2. Cognitive Exercise

Body Brain Fitness includes cross training  different areas of your brain such as memory, problem solving, attention and judgement.

Research[5] shows that specific regular cognitive exercises

  • Builds strong connections between brain cells
  • Assists to maintain brain function as you age and can delay the onset of dementia

3. Socialisation

Body Brain Fitness has a strong social component

Research[6] shows that people who remain social are

  • less likely to have a cognitive decline as they age
  • have better social and communication skills

We understand the importance of social interaction and engaging in fun  or enriching activities that offer the opportunity for new learning. Body Brain Fitness uses a range of social activities, such as morning tea and conversation groups as an opportunity for new learning. Learning a new task is more critical for the brain to change its structure than continued training of an already-learned task.

4. Learning New Activities

Body Brain Fitness includes the opportunity to learn new tasks and participate in productive and enriching activities. Art is used as an enriching therapy activity to boost self-esteem, stimulate  conversation, practice social  skills and provide opportunities for new learning, problem solving, attention and fine motor skills.

[1] Head injury as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: the evidence 10 years on; a partial replication, Fleminger et al, J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:857-862 doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.7.857

[2] The Changing Brain, Valenzuela & Sachdev, 2006

[3] Physical Exercise as a Preventive or Disease-Modifying Treatment of Dementia and Brain Aging, J. Eric Ahlskog, PhD, MD; Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc; Neill R. Graff-Radford, MBBCh, FRCP;and Ronald C. Petersen, PhD, MD; Mayo Clin Proc. September 2011;86(9):876-884

[4] Satz, Paul, Brain reserve capacity on symptom onset after brain injury: A formulation and review of evidence for threshold theory Neuropsychology, Vol 7(3), Jul 1993, 273-295.

[5]  The Changing Brain, Valenzuela & Sachdev, 2006

[6] Maia SzalavitzFriends With Benefits: Being Highly Social Cuts Dementia Risk by 70% , Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.