Leeds University study into walking and brain function

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RESEARCHERS in Leeds are looking for participants to help test walking programmes to see whether they boost brain power as well as health.

A team from the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds will work with people who are overweight, giving them a 12-week tailored plan to see how walking can fit into everyday life and the benefits it can bring.

Amy Weeks, a PhD student at the university who is leading the study, said: “My PhD is looking at the relationship between cardiovascular health and cognitive function, and the impact of physical activity and weight loss.

“Higher levels of physical activity have not only been linked to improved health status, but also to enhanced cognitive performance including memory, attention and problem solving.

“Increasing physical activity levels are important for populations where a sedentary lifestyle may be contributing to preventable health problems, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

“Our research study aims to see if increasing physical activity, by giving people easy manageable goals, can benefit health - such as blood pressure, body composition, blood glucose and insulin - and impact upon cognitive function.”

Participants in the research need to be aged between 30 and 60, have a Body Mass Index of over 25 and live a non-active lifestyle.

Those selected will go through assessments at the university, then given a device to monitor current activity. Then they will begin the walking programme, with specific targets, and the impact on their health regularly monitored.

For more details, email pscardio@leeds.ac.uk or call 07789930023.

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