Fitness kick for our brains
THERE’S no “doof doof” music in this gym, nor floor-to-wall mirrors. The plasma screens won’t be broadcasting music videos or daytime TV. They’ll be screening brain teasers.
An Australian-first facility for ageing South Australians will open in Adelaide next year and it’s more about the brain than the brawn.
As we age, the neuroplasticity of the brain naturally declines, says the gym’s founder and Parkinson’s SA CEO Olivia Nassaris.
Ms Nassaris says the depletion of dopamine as we get older affects movement, mood, behaviour, sleep, cognitive function and motivation, which has significant implications on the health and aged care systems.
But it can be improved, she says, with research repeatedly showing 45 minutes of neuroplasticity inducing exercise three times a week can have a significant affect on brain function.
“We have the amazing ability to reshape the physical structure of our brain and improve its function through neuroplasticity training exercises,” she says.
Ms Nassaris has developed the nation’s first purpose-built sports brain facility and hopes more within the health and aged care sectors will take brain health seriously.
“We are really trying to encourage people to keep their brains healthy as well as their body.”
At the Brain X Body Fitness Studio, to open in Unley in January, middle-age participants and older will mix traditional and non-traditional cardio, strength and flexibility based exercise with brain exercise for better neuroplasticity. It is also for those with Parkinson’s disease or needing brain rehabilitation.
Among the first to join is 59-yearold retired accountant Andrew White, from Dulwich. “A normal gym will focus on appearance, weight loss and muscle tone – which are great, but they’re not on my priority list right now,” he says.
Profits will fund research and support services for South Australians with Parkinson’s disease.
TRAINING: Parkinson’s SA CEO Olivia Nassaris prepares retiree Andrew White, 59, of Dulwich, to test some mental teasers at a gym for the brain.