These is now compelling evidence demonstrating the importance of exercise in maintaining and improving cognition in late adulthood, but little is known about the effect of acute exercise on age-related problems in language function and memory consolidation. In order to tackle this issue, the purpose of this research is to understand how exercising affects learning and to identify underlying brain activity by training people to learn new words in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner immediately after they have exercised. This research will provide information about whether exercise can improve learning, especially word learning, and identify which parts of the brain participate in this process. Different diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke, can have a negative impact on the way people use language to communicate, due to changes in the structure or function of their brain. Understanding how exercise affects language learning and the regions of the brain that support this may lead to development of new approaches to improving language re-learning in people with these conditions.

Funding body: Australian Research Council.

This is a collaborative study with: 

Associate Professor Katie McMahon - Deputy Director, Herston Imaging Research Facility

Professor Kirk Erickson - Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh

Dr Amy Rodriguez -​ Research Health Scientist, Centre for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Project members

The University of Queensland researchers involved in this project are:

Professor Jeff Coombes

Professor & Director
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Professor David Copland

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences