Physical exercise to mitigate the effects of physical inactivity on brain health

Problem: Many older adults experience prolonged bed rest as a result of injury, surgery, or hospitalization and this may have detrimental effects on both their cognitive (i.e. thinking) and physical abilities. Ensuring older adults engage in daily exercise during bed rest may counteract the negative consequences of physical inactivity on cognitive abilities. Research Overview: Maximizing on an opportunity provided by CIHR and the Canadian Space Agency, we will determine: 1) the effects of 14 days of bed rest on cognitive function in adults aged 55 to 65; 2) the impact of daily sessions of physical exercise in counteracting the effects of bed rest on cognitive function; 3) the mechanisms (i.e. how) by which bed rest and impacts cognitive function and its influencing factors (e.g. sex). Participants will be randomized to a group with either 14 days of bed rest with three physical exercise daily sessions (total of 60 minutes) or a control group (bed rest only). Potential Impact: Promote the development of novel interventions and rehabilitation strategies to counter the adverse effects of physical inactivity, including bed rest, on cognitive health in older adults during transitions in care.