Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, causes severe cognitive impairment and interferes with daily life. As the population ages, the number of Canadians living with dementia is projected to double within a generation to affect 1.1 million people and cost Canada’s healthcare system in excess of $150 billion. There is urgent need for intervention to reduce the burden of dementia on Canadian families and the economy. We have several ongoing projects examining the therapeutic benefits of exercise for the prevention and treatment of dementia symptoms. Our research will develop evidence-based and economical exercise interventions to improve brain function in seniors. Engaging in exercise programs at critical stages will extend autonomy, improve quality of life, and ultimately keep more aging Canadian’s healthier for longer.

Alzheimer's Disease & Healthy Aging



Developed by the Ontario Brain Institute with input from Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz


The Huffington Post [READ IT HERE]

"Exercise May Be As Valuable As Good Genes

In Lowering Dementia Risk"

January 31, 2017


Expert Opinion by Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz


"You don't have to train like an Olympian to get the brain health benefits of being physically active."


"Lack of exercise might invite dementia"

January 27, 2017


Expert Opinion by Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz


"These study results, however, suggest that your physical activity level can influence your dementia risk as much as your genetics, Heisz said. 'You can’t change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle,' she added."

Martin Ginis, K., Heisz J.J., Spence J.C., Clark I.B. et al. (2017). Formulation of evidence-based messages for the use of physical activity to prevent and manage Alzheimer’s disease. BMC Public Health, 17 (209).



Fenesi, B. Fang, H., Kovacevic, A. Oremus, M., Raina, P., and Heisz, J.J. (2017). Physical exercise moderates the relationship of apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype and dementia risk: A population-based study. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 56(1):297-303.


Heisz, J.J., Kovacevic, A., Clark, I.B., and Vandermorris, S. (2016). Evaluation of a community-based exercise program for managing Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 64(4):884-6.


Heisz, J.J. and Kovacevic, A. (2016). Exercise impacts age-related changes in cognitive function and neural complexity. Kinesiology Review, 5(1):30.



Clark, I.B., Vandermorris, S.,  and Heisz, J.J. (2015). Physical fitness and sociocognitive engagement are associated with different aspects of cognition in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 63(1):177-9.



Heisz, J.J., Could, M., and McIntosh, A.R. (2015). Age-related Shift in Neural Complexity Related to Task Performance and Physical Activity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 27(3):605-13.



Kovacevic, A., and Heisz, J.J. (2015). Investigating the relationship between aerobic activity and cognition in older adults. Journal of Exercise, Movement, and Sport. 47(1).



Fang, H., Clark, I.B., and Heisz, J.J. (2014). Examining the association between physical fitness, executive function, and memory. Journal of Exercise, Movement, and Sport. 46(1).



McMaster Health Forum

"Going for Gold As We Age"

October 4, 2016


Dr. Jennifer Heisz joined Olympic champion Mark Tewksbury and Debbie Muir, one of Canada's greatest coaches, in a public talk to discuss the benefits of exercise and social engagement for optimal aging; and share tips for setting goals and creating a winning mindset to help us achieve gold as we age!

The Hamilton Spectator [READ IT HERE]

"Exercise keeps brain in better order"

September 29, 2016


Op-Ed by Ana Kovacevic and Jennifer Heisz


"...we have control over the rate of our cognitive decline. Through regular physical exercise, we can maintain optimal cognitive health for longer."

McMaster Three Minute Thesis Competition First Place Winner

"Stepping Into A Healthy Mind" by Ana Kovacevic

[Read About It Here]

February 18, 2016


"Exercise is good for your body. But did you know it's also good for your brain? If only your doctor could prescribe cognition boosting exercise. That's the focus of my research."


Presentation by Ana Kovacevic

Graduate Student, Department of Kinesiology,

McMaster University

The Hamilton Spectator [READ IT HERE]

"A person with Alzheimer's disease is still here"

January 30, 2016


Op-Ed by Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz


"Many people live in the earlier stages of the disease for decades and remain capable, intelligent and aware, wanting and deserving our respect."

Men's Health Magazine [READ IT HERE]

"The Life Extending Power of Protein"

June 2015


Expert Opinion by Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz


"Here’s the bad news: 'Your brain starts to age in your late 30s and slowly declines from there,' says kinesiologist Jennifer Heisz, Ph.D., whose research at McMaster looks at the links between physical and mental health. The good news? Your muscles may be the best tools you have to slow the decline."

Innovation Quest Magazine

"The best prescription: exercise"

Spring/Summer 2014


Interview with Dr. Jennifer Heisz

Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Government of Canada [READ IT HERE]

"Government of Canada invests in university

research infrastructure"

April 14, 2014

"Minister of State Ed Holder (centre) asks Dr. Jennifer Heisz (right) questions about a Smart Card health monitor that was demonstrated by Karen Winegard (seated) at the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) at McMaster University."


"Alzheimer’s Disease: Tips for exercise as a form of prevention"

June 22, 2014


Cognitive Neuroscience Society [READ IT HERE]

"Exercise Adapts the Aging Brain for Cognitive Health"

October 14, 2014

Dr. Jennifer J. Heisz  | Assistant Professor | Department of Kinesiology | Ivor Wynne Centre, Room E206 | McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8