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What Types of Exercise Do You Need to Reduce Dementia Risk?

What Types of Exercise Do You Need to Reduce Dementia Risk? Numerous significant studies have demonstrated the significant cognitive benefits of walking, rigorous exercise, and even home tasks.

Exercise has long been thought to reduce the risk of dementia developing, according to experts. Although they had noticed a general pattern of decreased risk, the research on the topic had been tiny and frequently contradictory and there had been little agreement on the kind, frequency, or intensity of exercise that would be most beneficial.

Dr. Joel Salinas, an assistant professor of neurology at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine who specializes in treating dementia patients, said there is “no really clear prescription” that can be given for physical activity.

What Types Of Exercise Do You Need To Reduce Dementia Risk?

However, three significant long-term studies published recently have sought to identify the kinds, levels, and lengths of physical activity that offer the most comprehensive protection against dementia.

These studies, which tracked thousands or even hundreds of thousands of individuals over many years, provide strong evidence that regular physical activity, in a variety of forms, significantly lowers the risk of dementia.

The best exercise seems to be vigorous exercise, but even unconventional exercise, like completing chores around the house, can be quite beneficial. Surprisingly, it also works just as well in lowering the risk among people who have a family history of dementia.

Exercise Can Prevent Dementia In Many Different Ways

In the first study, which was released on July 27 in the journal Neurology, researchers looked at health data from 501,376 non-dementia adults in a UK Biobank database to find correlations between physical activity and the chance of getting the illness.

According to Dr. Huan Song, a researcher at West China Hospital, Sichuan University, who was one of the study’s authors, one of the database’s key benefits was that it contained “highly enriched data about the genetics” of the participants.

Participants’ risk profiles were taken into account, including if they had any genetic variations known to be linked to dementia or had any close relatives who also had the disease.

Participants in the study initially completed extensive questionnaires regarding their participation in physical activities, including sports, stair climbing, walking, and whether they typically rode a bike or walked to work. They were also questioned about their lifestyles in general, such as how frequently they did housework.

According to Dr. Song, one of the main limitations of earlier studies was that “the definition of physical activity is rather poor.” Some people use the entire amount, while others only concentrate on one type of activity. The British surveys provided detail on the precise activities that people were regularly involved in.

Over the course of the participants’ 11-year follow-up, 5,185 people got dementia. The study discovered that the incidence of dementia decreased by 35% in those who engaged in frequent, strenuous activity, such as playing sports or working out. Surprisingly, those who said they consistently completed home tasks also benefited significantly; their risk was reduced by 21%.

According to Dr. Sandra Weintraub, a neurologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine who was not involved in this study, “Some folks work up quite a sweat when they are doing home tasks.” “It’s possible that three hours of housework will have the same beneficial effects as 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.”

According to Dr. Salinas, who advises individuals to engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, the findings back up the idea that regular moderate to strenuous exercise might improve brain function. He claimed that developing this workout habit “is likely to have a very profound synergistic effect.” When it comes to promoting your own health through exercise, you get a lot more for your money.

The fact that persons with a family history of dementia were included in the relationship between physical exercise and a lower risk of dementia may be the most encouraging.

It’s crucial to understand that physical activity can lower your chance of developing dementia if you have a family history of the disease, according to Dr. Song.

Dementia And Exercise

Regular exercise has the same positive effects on those with Alzheimer’s disease as it does on healthy individuals, including increased strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Prior to beginning any new fitness regimen or discussing an existing one, always consult the patient’s doctor.

Exercise can give many health benefits including:

  • Improved mood
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced likelihood of constipation
  • Maintenance of motor skills
  • Reduced risk of falls because of improved strength and balance
  • Reduced rate of disease-associated mental decline
  • Improved memory
  • Improved behavior, such as reduced rate of wandering, swearing and acting aggressively
  • Better communication and social skills.

Getting Started On An Exercise Program

Starting a workout routine for a person with dementia could involve:

  • Organize a thorough physical examination by speaking with the person’s doctor. The kinds of exercises that a person with dementia can safely perform may be restricted by other medical issues, such as arthritis or high blood pressure.
  • A physiotherapist can create an activity plan that takes into account the person’s current state of health and skills.
  • Begin gradually. For instance, perhaps the person can only accomplish five minutes of exercise at initially. Add one minute at a time until the person can exercise easily for 30 minutes over the course of many months.
  • Ask the person to replicate your actions as you demonstrate the activity.
  • To avoid boredom and maintain motivation, switch up the tasks.

Start By Doing What You Like Best

The second study, which was released last week in Neurology, reviewed 38 studies to determine whether pastimes were linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Over the course of the research, 74,700 persons with dementia developed over a period of at least three years while being observed by more than two million participants without dementia.

When age, education, and gender were taken into account, the researchers discovered that participants who regularly exercised defined as doing things like walking, running, swimming, dancing, playing sports, or working out at the gym had a 17 percent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.

This meta-analysis demonstrates that there are numerous activities and even different types of activities that can prevent dementia. According to Le Shi, a researcher at Peking University and one of the study’s authors, “we propose to individuals to undertake the exercise that you prefer” given the variety of physical activities that participants participated in.

It’s never too early to start enjoying the health advantages of physical activity. Researchers followed more than 1,200 kids between the ages of 7 and 15 for more than 30 years in a third study that was released this month. A lifetime practice of physical activity may be good for brain health, as evidenced by the higher levels of cognitive functioning in those who were fitter as children and adults.

These results collectively imply that the daily movements of our bodies may accumulate over time. They also support the idea that even for those who are considered to be at high risk, regular, lifelong physical activity, in all of its forms, significantly lowers the incidence of dementia.

According to Dr. Weintraub, “your brain is part of your body and will benefit from anything you do that is healthy for your general health.”

Types Of Exercise For People With Dementia

Encourage them to pick up an old favourite sport, like golf, if they used to enjoy it. Offer your encouragement. Additional ideas include:

  • One of the best all around activities is walking, which is also cost-free. The restless drive to travel that is typical of Alzheimer’s sufferers can be relieved by walking.
  • Consider combining your stroll with a practical task, like running to the store for milk or using a motor cycle to exercise the dog. A tandem bike allows you to sit in the front and steer while your passenger sits in the rear and pedals.
  • If the person with dementia has balance issues, you might try getting them a three-wheeled bicycle to ride while you cycle alongside them.
  • If they have trouble using other types of exercise equipment, like treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines, you can take classes together or get suitable low impact aerobic workout videos.

Exercise That Does Not Feel Like Exercise

Any physical activity that increases heart rate is considered exercise. Activities that don’t feel like structured exercise are suggested, such as:

  • Seniors clubs sometimes schedule dancing events as part of their social events. If the person with dementia is unable to dance, they can learn and enjoy simple dances like square dancing as long as their partner can take the lead.
  • Gardening is also a wonderful type of exercise; raking and mowing the lawn are two examples.
  • Ensure that you are available to assist with any necessary housekeeping, such as vacuuming and folding laundry.
  • Most people with Alzheimer’s disease are still capable of doing some forms of housework under supervision.

Safety Concerns For People With Dementia

For those who have dementia, exercise can be beneficial, but it’s crucial that the activities are secure.

The following ideas are some to enhance safety:

  • As the person’s condition worsens, discuss suitable activity with the person’s physician and physiotherapist.
  • Make sure the person is wearing a medical alert bracelet or pendant and some form of identification when participating in outside activities in case they wander off and become lost.
  • Use weight machines as opposed to drop-prone dumbbells and barbells.
  • They are in a comfortable aerobic condition if they can still communicate while exercising.
  • To keep an eye on how inflated they are becoming, keep the conversation going. If they can’t speak without gasping, slow it down.
  • Make sure the person is sun conscious when engaging in outside activities by dressing in garments and a helmet and applying sunscreen to any exposed skin.
  • Before, during, and after activity, make sure the person drinks lots of water.
  • Stop the activity and consult a doctor if the person claims they are experiencing pain, dizziness, or fainting.

Where To Get Help

  • Your doctor
  • Your local council
  • Your local community health center
  • National Dementia Helpline – Alzheimer’s Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
  • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
  • My aged care 1800 200 422
  • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
  • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centers Tel. 1800 052 222
  • Dementia Behavior Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) Tel. 1800 699 799 – for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers.

Things To Remember

  • Engaging in appropriate activities can assist a person with dementia in finding enjoyment and purpose.
  • The way we deal with difficult behaviors is heavily influenced by our activities.
  • There are several ways to organize and offer suitable activities for dementia sufferers.
  • Planning activities for the individual will be easier if you are aware of what makes them special.
  • Always with the patient’s doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen.
  • A physiotherapist can create an activity plan that takes into account the person’s current state of health and skills.


Experts have long believed that exercise lowers the chance of dementia onset. According to Dr. Joel Salinas, there is “no really unambiguous prescription” that can be made on the benefits of exercise in preventing dementia.

Even household duties can be highly useful, while strenuous activity seems to be the optimum form of exercise. When people participated in frequent, demanding exercise, such as playing sports or working out, the prevalence of dementia fell by 35%. According to a British study, those who reported routinely doing household chores also profited greatly from exercise and had a 21% lower risk of dementia.


This article is only for knowledge purpose. If you have any serious issue, consult your doctor first. We do not claim any type of serious treatment.

People May Ask

What Type Of Exercise Helps Prevent Dementia?

They discovered that lifestyle adjustments, such as regular exercise, can prevent up to one-third of Alzheimer’s cases. And the WHO made the following suggestions for persons 65 and older: 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity at a moderate level. Alternatively, 75 minutes of rigorous aerobic exercise

What Are 5 Ways To Help Prevent Dementia?

  • Consuming a nutritious, wholesome diet.
  • Being healthy in terms of weight.
  • Exercise frequently.
  • Consuming alcohol within advised dosages.
  • Giving up smoking.

What Is The Best Exercise To Reduce Memory Loss In Older Adults?

Your memory might stay sharp if you do this. The Department of Health and Human Services advises most healthy adults to engage in 75 minutes per week of strenuous aerobic activity, such as jogging, or at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking.

Can Dementia Be Reversed With Exercise?

According to a study presented at the symposium, physical activity can stop and even reverse cognitive decline in persons with mild impairment.

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