The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has awarded over £35,000 to an innovative project between the University of Hertfordshire and Juntendo University, Japan, which will focus on understanding the benefits and constraints of physical activity-based programmes for older women, particularly those living with dementia.
Although there has been research into the benefits of sport and physical activity on younger people and older men living with dementia, crucially there has been little research into the effects on the health of older women.
The award of £36,000 will see researchers work in partnership in both the UK and Japan with fitness clubs offering bespoke physical activity sessions for older women and sports organisations offering reminiscence projects for older people living with dementia and their carers.
Project lead, Professor Elizabeth Pike, Head of Sport, Health and Exercise at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “There is a growing body of evidence of the benefits of sporting reminiscence projects for older men living with dementia but very little attention has been given to the benefits of these projects for older women. This is despite the fact that women have a longer life expectancy than men do and the overall evidence of the positive physical, mental and social impact of sport on the elderly.”
The project entitled ‘Understanding and informing the benefits of sport and physical activity-based programmes for older women in the UK and Japan’ will run between January 2019 to July 2020.
Professor Pike previously worked on a global research report exploring women in sport, which highlighted the importance of increasing female leadership in sport in order to reduce inequality in the sporting profession and encourage more women to participate.