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14th March 2023 Stroke

First-of-its-kind fitness centre expands

2 people in brain body fitness studio gym

A revolutionary Brain x Body Fitness Studio (BBFS) in Unley is expanding with a second studio now open in Woodville.

BBFS is the first exercise physiology service of its kind to focus on body and brain health, through exercise that encourages neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to grow and change in response to physical and mental activities.

The studio is run by The Hospital Research Foundation Group specifically for people with movement disorders and chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s, stroke, arthritis, pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more.

It offers a comfortable space for older adults to exercise with modern fitness equipment and group classes, plus qualified exercise physiologists who personalise each member’s program to meet their health needs.

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Tayla Haslam, BBFS Manager and Exercise Physiologist, said the personalised approach and added focus on neuroplasticity helps people reach and maintain a range of brain and body health goals.

“Just like the muscles in your body get stronger when you exercise, our brains continue to rewire, restructure and build new connections when we are challenged by physical and mental activities,” Tayla said.

“Our exercise programs focus on maximising people’s function in areas such as strength, mobility, balance, cognition, and their overall quality of life.

“This is really important if you’re recovering from or living with a health challenge, but it’s also crucial for everyone as they age.”

The Unley studio has been open since 2020 and is highly acclaimed by members, including Mark Horstmann who is recovering from a haemorrhagic stroke suffered three years ago when he was only 37.

The western suburbs father-of-two had to re-learn all his everyday skills, including talking, walking, grasping items and cognitive competency.

He joined BBFS in August 2021 and said it has helped him progress significantly, with his program focused on agility, gait, fine motor control, upper body and lower limb strength, and stretching for relaxation.

The tailored exercises often address both brain and body health at the same time – for example, a ladder stepping activity helps Mark work on his agility, but he is given changing sequences for his cognition and memory.

“In the last few years I’ve come a long way,” Mark said. “I started to get sick of the rehab but then I found BBFS and they just make it so fun.

“I’m doing more now with my kids than ever. I can jump on the trampoline with them, play on the swing set and even play Minecraft with my son – although he always beats me!”

BBFS Woodville is now open, located at 60 Woodville Road, Woodville. For more information about becoming a member and organising an initial health assessment, visit

The service also welcomes members funded by the NDIS and Department of Veteran’s Affairs.