Psychomotor health across the lifespan: Consequences for active, happy & healthy ageing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Central Lancashire
Department Name: Sch of Psychology


When human beings are getting older they may lose their ability to move freely in the environment. This decrease in movement ability can be the consequence of biological or psychological factors, or a disease of the neuromuscular system. As people age, there is a natural decrease in muscular strength, flexibility and the ability to maintain balance. Additionally, with aging, people may develop fear of falling or become less confident in their ability to move in unfamiliar surroundings. Finally, there are a number of neuromuscular diseases which become more common later on in life, like Parkinson, dementia, stroke or lower limb amputations impinging on one?s health. It is the aim of the participating scientists to investigate what the consequences are and how individuals cope at different stages in their lives with decreases in their ability to move or when they develop a neuromuscular disease. For example, we aim to investigate movement characteristics (biomechanical analysis) that change with ageing, as well as how these and neuromuscular diseases affect individuals? quality-of-life and general well-being. In addition, we would like to find out how certain factors like physical fitness, disease status, or resilience might influence the development of movement problems. The Network consists of academics from a number of prestigious higher education institutions with diverse backgrounds and expertise including biomechanics, psychology, medical engineering, movement science, and public health. The Network is supported by various health-care providers and community organisations with whom we collaboratively shape the research agenda. We propose to hold a number of joint meetings with all stakeholders to develop the course of the research. Initially, the different institutions involved will work in dyads to explore specific research targets. The overall aim of these dyads is to become familiar with the needs, expertise and scientific approach of all partners. Each dyad meeting will produce a position statement which will then be used to develop a full research programme. We expect working in such a way, novel research methodologies can be developed to investigate changes in movement behaviour as we age or develop a disease. The ultimate aim of the Network is to present healthcare providers with better treatment and intervention options which will help to maintain and/or improve movement ability of individuals as they age which in turn will improve general well-being and quality-of-life and the possibility to live an independent life.

Technical Summary

Changes in movement behaviour across the lifespan occur as a result of biological processes (e.g., decreased muscular strength and postural stability), psychological factors (e.g., fear of falling, attention deployment) and neuromuscular diseases (e.g., Parkinson, stroke). Surprisingly, little is known how motor behaviour is modified by ageing and how these adjustments interact with other aspects of ageing like cognitive, affective, health and physical changes. The principal aim of the ?Active, Happy & Healthy Ageing? Network is to examine the processes (re-learning, coping) and products (movement characteristics, psychological well-being, quality-of-life) of age related changes in motor behaviour in relation to factors that influence these changes (physical fitness, disease status, efficacy beliefs, etc.) and how these relate to individuals? personal thresholds to seek medical advice. We propose a novel approach to the development of a research strategy with regard to psychomotor health across the lifespan. This includes the different partners meeting as dyads. This will allow a greater appreciation of the expertise, needs and scientific approaches of each partner and the formulation of multidisciplinary research questions. The position statements generated during these meetings will function as a handbook for developing a full research programme during two follow-up meetings. The diverse academic partners, health care providers and community organisations involved in the development of the research strategy is anticipated to result in novel research methodologies to investigate psychomotor health changes with ageing. This in turn will lead to development of new theoretical frameworks and empirically based interventions and treatments which will increase physical activity, mobility and daily functioning in older persons? thereby improving well-being and reducing morbidity.


10 25 50
Description Public engagment event Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A brief presentation to an audience. The information was put on the website were people could responses (using twitter). Also, a cartoon was made with audio which can be seen on the COMIXED website

Contact made with some local town planners and interesting comments on twitter.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009