The Brain and Body exercise program is a structured and individualized exercise program for people living with any form of dementia (including those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)). Care-partners of those participating in this program are also welcome to enroll.
The Brain and Body program is a 12 week program focused on restoring and improving the health, wellness, energy and function of individuals living with any form of dementia or mild cognitive impairment and their care-partners, in a safe and supportive environment.
Trained exercise specialists take into account medical history and health status when developing individualized exercise programs aimed at improving cardiovascular function, balance, muscular strength and endurance, as well as range of motion.
The specialized program provides safe, private, small group one hour exercise sessions twice a week over the 12 week period. Appropriate for everyone regardless of fitness level, each program is tailored to the individual's specific health needs and goals. The exercise program is fee-for-service.
Who is a candidate for the Brain and Body program?
If you are living with any form of dementia, including mild cognitive impairment, or are the care-partner for someone living with dementia and live in Kitchener-Waterloo or surrounding areas, you are a candidate for the Brain and Body exercise program.
Referral to participate
If you’re interested in participating, please have your doctor complete and fax the referral form to clear you for participation in an exercise program. If you prefer to contact us over the phone or schedule an in-person meeting to complete the registration process, please contact us for the referral script and to book an appointment.
What happens next?
Once registered, clients join a twice weekly, 60 minute class for 12 weeks. Typically, classes are offered in the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. Classes are a small-group format with 6-10 participants and supervised by our certified Fitness Staff.
An initial assessment is performed to understand baseline capabilities and ensure clients are started at a safe and comfortable exercise level. Each week clients participate in a warm up, aerobic exercise, strength and balance exercises, and cool down stretching.
Instructions for assessment
Before beginning the 12 week exercise program, you will be assessed by our fitness staff to determine your baseline exercise capacity.
This assessment takes up to two hours to complete. All information regarding directions and preliminary instructions to follow on the day of the assessment are outlined below.
If you have any questions after reading this information, please contact our Fitness staff for clarification.
Preliminary instructions for assessment:
- Short sleeved/sleeveless shirt and shorts/track pants/yoga pants should be worn (something you can move comfortably in). Running shoes are the recommended footwear. We have washrooms and change facilities with showers available if needed.
Food and beverages
- It is recommended that you do not eat a heavy meal within three to four hours prior to the assessment. A light meal/snack is fine, as you should not attempt the assessment on an empty stomach.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages four hours prior to the assessment.
- Do not ingest diuretics before the assessment unless they are prescribed by a physician.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages for 48 hours prior to your assessment.
- Bring a water bottle to the assessment if you have one. We ask that you also bring a water bottle to all exercise sessions. We have a water cooler you can fill your bottle up from when needed and spare paper cups in the event you forget your bottle.
- Empty your bladder 30 minutes before test.
- If you are a smoker, avoid smoking for two hours prior to the assessment.
- Exercise should be avoided 12 hours prior to the assessment.
Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking.
Where to find us
The Brain and Body exercise program is located at the University of Waterloo in the Toby Jenkins Applied Health Research Building: 340 Hagey Boulevard, Waterloo, ON, N2L 6R6.
For map and detailed directions, see directions and parking for access to the Toby Jenkins Building.
Support Brain and Body
The Brain and Body exercise program is currently fee-for-service. It is our hope that additional support for the Brain and Body exercise program could be obtained to make the program more affordable to those living with with cognitive impairment and their care partners.
To donate directly to the program, contact Sherri Sutherland, Director of Advancement, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences or complete Waterloo's secure online donation form. Designate your gift as "Other - Brain and Body".