Canadians face disconnect between thoughts and actions on brain health and exercise

TORONTO, May 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A new study of 1,510 Canadians by Baycrest unveils the impact that exercise has on people’s wellbeing and brain health. The Bike for Brain Health survey shows a disconnect between people’s healthy intentions and their actual participation in exercise.

A vast majority (93%) of Canadians of all ages believe exercise plays a significant role in their emotional state, mental clarity, and wellbeing. People also predominantly (87%) understand that physical exercise is one of the best ways to maintain cognitive abilities and delay the onset of dementia. Finally, Canadians overwhelmingly (92%) express willingness to be more physically active if it means preventing cognitive decline. However, despite people’s knowledge of the strong connection between exercise and brain health, there is drop-off in converting that sentiment into action. Specifically, only six-in-10 Canadians (61%) engage in exercise for the purpose of maintaining brain health.

Only one-in-three (33%) Canadians have increased their level of exercise since the start of the pandemic. Younger Canadians are considerably more likely than older adults to have increased their physical activity over the past two years (39% vs 29%).

“These numbers are encouraging, especially for younger Canadians,” says Josh Cooper, President and CEO, Baycrest Foundation. “While people may think brain health is a tomorrow problem, part of what we do at Baycrest is to encourage all generations to get a head start, especially through being active.” To that end, Baycrest is hosting the inaugural Mattamy Homes Bike for Brain Health event on June 5, where participants will have the opportunity to cycle 25, 50 or 75km along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway.

Here are the full results from the Bike for Brain Health survey:

Physical activity, cycling and
brain health questions
All Canadians

18-34

35-54

55+

I believe exercise plays a significant role in my emotional state, mental clarity, and wellbeing

93 % 92 % 94 % 93 %
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to maintain cognitive abilities and delay the onset of dementia 87 % 84 % 88 % 89 %
I am willing to engage in more physical activity if that means preventing cognitive decline 92 % 92 % 94 % 89 %
I engage in exercise for the purpose of maintaining my cognitive abilities and delaying the onset of dementia 61 % 52 % 56 % 71 %

My level of exercise has increased since the start of the pandemic

33

%

39 % 31 % 29 %

Cycling outdoors helps me sharpen my focus, find perspective and enjoy my city during the pandemic

46 % 46 % 49 % 42 %

Given the last two years of lockdowns, I look forward to my city/community allowing public, recreational events (such as cycling)

58 % 60 % 63 % 53 %

I have found that cycling and exercise positively impacts my overall brain health

65 % 67 % 68 % 62 %
Source: Angus Reid Global and The Baycrest Foundation

Finally, the survey found that 46 per cent of Canadians coast-to-coast admit that cycling outdoors helps them sharpen their focus, find perspective, and enjoy their city, especially during the pandemic. Nearly six-in-10 Canadians (58%) feel that given the last two years of lockdowns, they look forward to their city/community allowing public, recreational events, such as cycling and running, to come back in person.

“The survey was initially conceived to support Baycrest’s Bike For Brain Health, our Toronto-based fundraiser which is in its inaugural year. However, we decided to open it up ask all Canadians to think about brain health and activity in their own backyard,” said Cooper.

About the Brain Health Tune-up survey
Between March 17 to March 21, 2022, an online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,510 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, the sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About The Baycrest Foundation
The Baycrest Foundation’s mission is to enrich the quality of life of our community by supporting programs and services that promote excellence in research, innovation, education and care in the field of aging and brain health. As the fundraising arm of Baycrest, the Foundation helps provide crucial funding for breakthrough research into cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, and aging brain health; medical programs and services for older adults living in our community; and education that supports healthy aging and healthcare solutions for a growing aging population. Baycrest is on a mission to defeat dementia and help every older adult Fear No Age. For more information, visit fearnoage.com or baycrest.org.

Media contact
Megan Dunscombe, MAVERICK
647-972-2373
[email protected]

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ec06fb42-97c1-4f65-bc25-7cc4e9ffb733


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