Ageing Well

The Ageing Well research group combines multiple disciplinary perspectives and multi-method expertise to answer research questions of importance in supporting individuals and communities to age well. We focus on the realities of ageing, recognising that it is not an illness and maximising potential, quality of life, participation and well-being, not just longevity.

Our research hubs are:

  • Active Living
  • Falls and Fraility
  • Pelvic Floor and Continence
  • Workplace Wellness

Latest news

Ageing expert behind new data predicting falls rise in older people as a result of COVID-19 lockdown

Glasgow Caledonian University Professor in Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton was one of the experts behind new data predicting that the number of falls among older adults could increase due to a decline in balance and muscle strength caused by inactivity during the first lockdown.

The report ‘Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Physical Activity, Deconditioning and Falls in Older Adults’ has just been published by Public Health England.

Professor Skelton is a member of the National Falls Prevention Coordination Group (NFPCG) and was on the advisory group for the report, giving her guidance and advice throughout.

She explained: “The report predicts that 110,000 more older people (an increase of 3.9%) are projected to have at least one fall per year as a result of reduced strength and balance activity during the pandemic, with a cost of £211 million to the health and social care system.  

“Older people experienced a considerable reduction in strength and balance activity between March-May 2020, with the greatest change in the 70-74 age group with a 45% (males) and 49% (females) decrease observed in activity.​”

Professor Skelton was also part of an expert panel behind a report published last year calling on the government to look into the physical and psychological effects of lockdown on older people.

The report - 'A National COVID-19 Resilience Programme' - was produced by The Physiological Society and the Centre for Ageing Better. It has been published online here and shared with the UK Parliament at a Parliamentary Committee.

Read the full article here

Research exposes gaps in mental health support for frontline nurses during pandemic

Researchers have found gaps in mental health support for frontline respiratory nurses and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) health services researcher Dr Nicola Roberts is the Principal Investigator in a new research paper entitled ‘Experiences of nurses caring for respiratory patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: an online survey study’.

Dr Roberts worked with colleagues at Edge Hill University and Southampton University exploring the experiences of nurses caring for respiratory patients during the first wave of the pandemic in early 2020. The paper was published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Journal.

The research team analysed responses from over 255 nurses throughout the UK who highlighted concerns over their working environment, the supply and availability of adequate PPE, the quality-of-care individuals were able to deliver, and impacts on mental health to nurses and their families.

Read the full article here

Scientists discover world-first cocktail for a longer life

An international team of scientists led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has discovered the perfect cocktail of physical activity that could help you live a healthier, longer life.

Experts discovered that the winning formula for reducing the odds of early death by 30% is to do three minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise or 12 minutes of light physical activity for each hour of the day you spend sitting.

Previous studies have looked at the impact of one type of activity or another in isolation, but this is the first piece of evidence that has found the best combination, or cocktail, of ingredients needed to prolong life.

The four-year study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, is the largest of its kind in the world, analysing data from six previous studies including more than 130,000 adults in the UK, US and Sweden.

The research, led by GCU’s Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics Sebastien Chastin, used activity monitors on participants and a technique called compositional analysis to determine how different combinations of activities - including moderate to vigorous exercise (such as brisk walking, running, or other activities that increase heart rate), light physical activity (such as housework or casual walking), and sedentary behaviour - affect mortality. 

Although the current recommendation to do 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity reduces the odds of an earlier death by up to 80% for some - those who sat for less than seven hours - it did not reduce mortality risk for individuals who were very sedentary (over 11 to 12 hours per day), the researchers found.

Read the full article here

Regular physical activity could cut COVID-19 death risk by one third

Regular physical activity cuts the risk of dying from infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by 37 per cent and reduces the chance of catching the virus by 31 per cent, according to new global research.

The research carried out by an international team of researchers, led by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Professor of Health Behaviour Dynamics Sebastien Chastin, also found that physical activity can boost the effectiveness of vaccines by up to 40 per cent.

GCU conducted the full-scale systematic review of 16,698 worldwide epidemiological studies published between January 1980 and April 2020 with world-renowned immunologists and epidemiologists from University College London (UCL) and Ghent University (UGent) in Belgium, exercise and sports scientists from Cádiz University in Spain and a public health consultant from NHS Lanarkshire (NHSL).

The research found that 30-minutes of activity five days a week or 150-minutes per week that gets you slightly out of breath such as walking, running, cycling and strengthening exercises can have a massive impact on immunity to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Scientists concluded that it can result in a “31 per cent decrease in the risk of infectious disease such as COVID- 19, a 37 per cent decrease in the risk of death as a consequence of infectious disease such as COVID-19 and an increase in the efficacy of vaccination against viral disease such as COVID-19.”

Click here to watch a short animation video about the research and read the full paper here.

Read the full article here

Research shows that even older stroke survivors can improve speech given the right support

International research led by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Senior Research Fellow Dr Myzoon Ali and Professor Marian Brady has found that people who had access to speech and language therapy made the greatest improvements soon after stroke, and that improvements diminished over time.

The study also found that older people and those who were more than six months after a stroke also achieved notable language recovery.

Aphasia, a speech problem caused by damage in the language areas of the brain, affects about 50,600 stroke survivors in the UK every year. Lack of resources and growing waiting list times means some patients fall off the radar.

The study, funded by National Institute for Health Research and supported by The Tavistock Trust for Aphasia, is part of the GCU-led international Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) network of 240 aphasia researchers across 40 countries aiming to improve the lives of stroke survivors with language problems.

This latest study collected 174 existing aphasia research datasets from 28 countries, totalling 5,928 anonymised individual participant’s data, describing language problems after stroke. The data were analysed to find the factors that are related to stroke survivors’ recovery of language function.

Read the full article here

Videos Find out more about our research by viewing the videos below:

Current projects

The group has an active programme of research exploring the relationship between physical activity and health risk factors across the age range from young children to the frail elderly. Some of our current research projects are listed below.

Publications For the latest publications and reports, please see details below:

Ageing Well

Physical Function and Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Adults with or at Risk of a Mobility Disability Post-discharges: 8-month follow-up of a randomized controlled trial, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

Urban blue spaces and human health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative studies, Cities

Experiences of nurses caring for respiratory patients during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: an online survey study, BMJ Open Respiratory Journal

Joint association between accelerometry-measured daily combination of time spent in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep and all-cause mortality: a pooled analysis of six prospective cohorts using compositional analysis, British Journal of Sports Medicine

Interventions for reducing sedentary behaviour in community‐dwelling older adults, Cochrane Review

Effects of Regular Physical Activity on the Immune System, Vaccination and Risk of Community-Acquired Infectious Disease in the General Population: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Sports Medicine

Levels of resilience, anxiety and depression in nurses working in respiratory clinical areas during the COVID pandemic, Journal of Respiratory Medicine

The Impact of Regeneration and Climate Adaptations of Urban Green–Blue Assets on All-Cause Mortality: A 17-Year Longitudinal Study, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Mechanisms of Impact of Blue Spaces on Human Health: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training with and without electromyographic biofeedback for urinary incontinence in women: multicentre randomised controlled trial, British Medical Journal

Systematic Review of Changes and Recovery in Physical Function and Fitness After Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–Related Coronavirus Infection: Implications for COVID-19 Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Journal

The social threats of COVID-19 for people with chronic pain, The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain

Is urinary incontinence associated with sedentary behaviour in older women? Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, PLOS ONE


For more information, visit the Ageing Well research group website.

The Ageing Well research group is led jointly by Professor Jo Booth and Professor Suzanne Hagen.

For more information about the group, please visit their website via the link below.

Ageing Well website