Physical Fitness and Dementia


Last year when I went for my yearly physical my doctor sat me down to discuss the relationship between Physical Fitness and dementia.  Studies have shown and proven a direct link between the two as greatly reducing the risk of this dreaded disease. Intrigued and encouraged, I turned to the Alzheimer’s Society for more information.Benefits of exercise and physical activity

Exercise and physical activity may bring many benefits for people with dementia. These include:

  • *  improving the health of the heart and blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • *  reducing the risk of some types of cancer (particularly breast and colon cancer), stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • *  improving physical fitness – maintaining strong muscles and flexible joints can help people maintain independence for longer
  • *  improving the ability to dress, clean, cook and perform other daily activities (as these may be performed more effectively if someone is fitter or more supple)
  • *  helping to keep bones strong and reducing the risk of osteoporosis (a disease that affects the bones, making them weak and more likely to break)
  • *  improving cognition – recent studies have shown that exercise may improve memory and slow down mental decline
  • *  improving sleep
  • *  providing opportunities for social interaction and reducing the feeling of isolation
  • *  reducing the risk of falls by improving strength and balance
  • *  improving confidence
  • *  increasing self-esteem
  • *  improving mood.
  • Exercise and well being

    Taking regular physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help to maintain wellbeing. Physical activity creates valuable opportunities to socialise with others, and can help improve and maintain a person’s independence. This is beneficial to both people with dementia and their carers. Engaging in physical activities can also improve self-esteem and mood, which in turn encourages more social engagement that may also contribute to well being.

  • I hope this gets you thinking of the relationship between physical fitness and dementia.  As always, consult your doctor before you start an exercise program but GET STARTED!!  I have been working out for approximately 23 years and wish I had started long before.  I use this study to try to encourage young people to go ahead and begin the process of reducing the risk of dementia.  The earlier we start the better.

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