Why Physical Activity Is Important For People Living With Dementia

Written by Ryan on Friday the 28th of April 2017.

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Whether a person is living with early, mid or late stage dementia, exercise is incredibly beneficial, both physically and mentally.

Physically, exercise improves the health of the heart and blood vessels, which can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as reducing the chance of developing certain types of cancer.

Similarly, maintaining strong muscles and flexible joints allows people with dementia to continue to perform daily activities (like dressing and cooking) for longer, allowing them to maintain their independence, as well as reducing their risk of falls as strength and balance is improved. There is also evidence to suggest that exercise may improve memory and slow down mental decline.

Emotionally, exercise improves sleep, mood and, depending on the activity, it provides opportunities for social interaction. Helping a person living with dementia’s confidence and feelings of isolation.

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Now, the exercise doesn’t mean a long mountain hike or a 2-mile bike ride, it is any physical activity that increases the heart rate and makes one breath deeper. This can be something as simple as everyday activities like gardening or a gentle stroll around the garden, or more specific fitness exercises like swimming or Tai Chi.

Seated exercises are very popular for older people living with dementia as they gently build and maintain muscle strength and balance, but are less strenuous than exercises in a standing position. Our seated exercise DVD promotes gentle exercise to help the overall mobility of those living with dementia.