Professor of Physiotherapy. Works with research and teaching. The research is mainly about physical activity and exercise for older people, including people who have dementia or live in nursing homes.
Physical activity has very important effects on most health factors for the increasing proportion of older people in our society. However, a major public health problem is that many older people are physically inactive.
High-intensity interval training
High-intensity exercise (HIT) at very short intervals is a new training method that is believed to have major health effects. Despite promising results in younger people, studies with high quality have been lacking among older people. Through several pilot studies, our interdisciplinary research group has developed a method, adapted for older people by individually regulating the intensity of training. This training program was evaluated in a randomized controlled trial, The Umeå HIT Study. Within this study, two studies aiming at facilitating the implementation of the training is ongoing.
People with dementia
Older people with physical or cognitive impairments are at greater risk of being physically inactive. Dementia causes impairments in both cognitive and physical functions, leading to an increased risk of dependence in activities of daily living and of falls. Among people aged 85 or over, one in three have dementia. For older people without cognitive impairment, physical and cognitive functions are improved by exercise. Erik has, among other things, been responsible for a study, the Umeå Dementia Exercise (UMDEX) Study, which in a randomized controlled trial evaluated the effect of high-intensity functional training for older people with dementia.
Developing and evaluating exercise methods is important for the increasing proportion of older people in our society. It is important to have access to suitable and effective training methods to prevent health risks and improve physical and cognitive functions. Reducing dependence in activities of daily life is also important for the quality of life among older people. Positive effects through reduction of diseases, dependence on help and falls, also lower costs for society through, for example, reduced need for help from staff and hospital stays.
Together with the colleagues Håkan Littbrand and Nina Lindelöf, I have developed a high-intensity functional training program - The HIFE Program. The exercise program is evaluated in own (e.g. the Umdex Study) and others' research both nationally and internationally. The HIFE Program has been translated into four different languages and has been spread both nationally and internationally in research and in the clinic. Several municipalities and regions in Sweden have created guidelines that the training program should be used for the rehabilitation of older people living in their own homes or in nursing homes. The entire training program is freely available on a website, where you can read about the scientific evaluation and create individual programs, among other things.
Specialist Physiotherapist in Health in Older People. Been employed as a Physiotherapist for about 15 years at the Geriatric Center, Umeå University Hospital, and worked one year at a medical clinic at Östersund Hospital and one year in Molde Municipality.
Teaching has mainly focused on various aspects of scientific method and on rehabilitation for older people. Currently responsible for the course at master's level on evidence-based physiotherapy, as well as a doctoral course on the design of intervention studies in patient-based research. Has some occasional elements in other courses such as on measurement methods. Supervisor for projects at different levels (Bachelor, Master and PhD).