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Sport and Exercise for Brain Health

Expand your knowledge of the benefits of lifelong physical activity for maintaining brain health and reducing disease risk.

3,253 enrolled on this course

low angle back view of a group of friends jogging outdoors exercise together to promote brain health

Sport and Exercise for Brain Health

3,253 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

The content of the following course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Explore the benefits of sport and exercise for building good brain health

Preventing poor brain health and dementia is an increasingly important public health issue, and has received more and more attention in global sport and media in recent years.

This two-week course from Brain Health Scotland and collaborators will provide you with novel insight and the latest science around brain health, the known risk factors that can affect it across the course of life, and how to reduce these risks.

Explore the impact of exercise in reducing the risk of disease and boosting brain health

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for dementia, and it has been shown that exercise itself can help to prevent or manage many risk factors for dementia.

On this course, you’ll explore the link between exercise and brain health with expertise from a former Olympian and professional athlete, physiotherapists, and top researchers and clinicians in the field to understand how physical activity is a key pillar of health and wellbeing globally.

Discover practical strategies used by athletes to maintain brain health

Athletes and professionals in the field of sport have a growing understanding of brain health and its risk factors.

You’ll have the unique opportunity to gain insight on brain health from a former Olympian and professional athlete. Through their experience, you’ll learn about some of the challenges athletes can face, and discover strategies for supporting brain health.

Become an advocate for brain health in your own communities

Although brain health has become more topical, misinformation on the subject is not uncommon, and there is a lack of strong evidence-based resources in place to guide individuals.

With the guidance and support of your expert educators, you’ll expand your knowledge and be empowered to spread awareness and advocate for good brain health.

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  • Week 1

    Brain Health for All

    • Welcome to the Course

      Welcome to Week 1! In this first activity former Olympian, Claire Lambe, explains what this course is about, who the course is for and what's happening this week. We also meet the course educators and other learners.

    • All about Brain Health

      In this activity we explore what we mean by the concept of brain health and begin to think about how we can each promote positive brain health behvaiours.

    • Risk Factors

      Let's explore the concept of risk and the risk factors that affect our brain health.

    • When Brain Health Depletes

      In this activity we investigate the flip side of good brain health. We explore neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). We also consider why prevention remains the cure.

    • Wrap Up

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 2

    Brain Health Meets Sport & Exercise

    • Moving forward together

      In this first activity of Week 2, we hear from former professional rugby player, Marcus Horan, about what we'll cover this week.

    • Connecting dots

      Let's reflect on the benefits of movement on our brain health.

    • Challenges & solutions

      Explore some of the challenges that can arise following retirement from sport, or prolonged periods away from training, and practical solutions to keep us on track.

    • Actions speak louder than words

      Congratulations on reaching the final activity. Let's reflect and plan how you want to carry your learning beyond the course! To support this journey, we provide a number of downloadable resources you can use and share.

    • Wrap up

      Let's reflect on what we've covered in Week 2 and what we do next with our knowledge.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The content of the following course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what brain health is and what the risk factors are for poor brain health
  • Discuss benefits of sport, exercise, and physical activity (PA) on brain health, with a focus on specific areas or challenges relevant to athletes and their support networks
  • Apply practical strategies for optimising brain health using evidence from sport and exercise
  • Advocate for your own brain health, and that of others, seeing sport, exercise and physical activity (PA) as a critical tool

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for current and former athletes and those involved in the field of sport, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

It will also be relevant to the healthcare, medicine, education, psychology, and public health sectors.

Who will you learn with?

Director of Brain Health Scotland & Professor of Psychiatry of Ageing (University of Edinburgh). My research explores links between risk factors & expression of Alzheimer's diseases in midlife.

I am a Chartered Physiotherapist and an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Physiotherapy, TCD. I have over 30 years of clinical and research experience with a particular interest in exercise

Consultant Neuropathologist, Glasgow and Honorary Professor, University of Glasgow and University of Pennsylvania. Engaged in multiple research programs exploring outcomes of traumatic brain injury

I am Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin & Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute. My main research interests are in the detection, diagnosis & prevention of dementia

Prof. Aine Kelly is Professor in Physiology at Trinity College Dublin, where she teaches physiology and neuroscience and researches the effects of exercise on brain health and function.

Who developed the course?

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland is Scotland’s national dementia charity. Our aim is to make sure nobody faces dementia alone. We provide support and information to people with dementia, their carers and families, we campaign for the rights of people with dementia and fund vital dementia research.

In collaboration with

University of Glasgow
Trinity College Dublin
University of Edinburgh
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Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$104/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 30 Apr 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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