The Brain x Body Fitness Studio, set to open in the Adelaide suburb of Unley in January, will be Australia’s first gym for older people to combine physical exercise with brain training.
Aimed at the middle aged-plus, the Studio will feature a range of state-of-the-art equipment including a motorised bicycle, hand sensor controlled treadmills and three OrbIT’s, an innovative gaming system with an easy-to-use controller that challenges the user in a range of cognitive challenges.
Floor classes will include Tai Chi, Yoga, Feldenkrais, Strength and Balance and Move It or Lose It (love the name) – a dance-styled class to increase coordination.
It’s the brainchild of Parkinson’s SA CEO Olivia Nassaris. She came up with the concept to address the funding shortfall that Parkinson’s SA will face under Federal Government changes in 2020 – and help its clients who don’t qualify for support through MyAgedCare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Brains and brawn
Ms Nassaris says the combination of the machines; workout routines and dual tasking are designed to encourage neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to respond and build new connections in response to physical and mental activities.
“So, at a normal place you might zone out and watch TV, on our screens you will be doing brainy games whilst working out,” she said.
It’s backed up by research that shows doing cognitive and physical tasks at the same time can improve cognition.
We think it’s a great idea – and so do others. About 50 members have already signed up, with profits to go towards funding research and support services for South Australians with Parkinson’s Disease.
The Studio is currently offering a pre-sale membership, Foundation Members, who will receive two years for the price of one. You can find out more here.