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.