Online course runs athletes through benefits of brain health

Exercising regularly improves brain health as much as physical fitness, say experts launching a programme to boost performance and wellbeing.

Online course runs athletes through benefits of brain health

Article Source: Brain Health Scotland
First Published: 25 April 2022 13:08
Updated: 25 April 2022 13:08

Keeping your grey matter in good order not only gives you a competitive edge, but also has significant long-term health benefits, the team says.

Sportspeople of all abilities are being encouraged to keep their brains healthy by signing up for an interactive online course that starts today (25 April).

The course is designed to help sportspeople improve their mental and physical health and protect key cognitive functions such as problem solving, focus and decision making.

The free programme will also spell out how exercising can increase your brain’s resilience and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.

Two leading sports figures are backing the initiative. Former rugby international Marcus Horan and Olympic rower Claire Lambe will deliver some of the course content.

The Massive Open Online Course – or MOOC – has been created by the Brain Health Scotland initiative, which is hosted and supported by the charity Alzheimer Scotland.

Also involved are world-leading experts from the Global Brain Health Institute, the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and Trinity College Dublin.

“Whether you are a top athlete, or have just started jogging for fun, it’s hugely important to stay physically active – and this course can help you realise that goal,” says Dr Andrew Murray, Consultant in Sport and Exercise at the University of Edinburgh.

“Being active is not only great for our general health, but also helps manage modifiable risks linked to dementia, such as depression, obesity, hypertension and social isolation.”

The course, which is available through the FutureLearn digital platform, will emphasise how exercise and physical activity can boost people’s brain health at every stage of life.

Participants can learn about the latest research developments and find out about strategies that anyone can adopt to minimise risks to brain health.

The course is being launched in response to calls from athletes and other interested groups keen to source evidence-based information to support brain health.

Content has developed in partnership with athletes, parents, coaches and teachers – all of them involved in sport and recreational activities at different levels.

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, says: “You don’t have to be involved in elite sport to benefit from the insights and expertise this programme offers.

“It sets out clearly how taking part in regular physical activity – be it sport, gardening or walking to work – can help to keep our brains in good shape.”


The course is backed by the British Journal of Sports Medicine’s Education Stamp of Approval and endorsed by the British Association of Sport & Exercise Medicine.

Find out more at www.futurelearn.com

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