Longevity Exercise Physiology and Personal Training Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain and Bella Vista today look at the role regular exercise plays in cognitive conditions like dementia.

Dementia as defined by Dementia Australia, ‘is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life’. Most people associate dementia with older adults e.g. >65 years of age, however younger people can also develop it.

Some of the common types of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Alcohol related dementia

Early signs and symptoms of dementia include:

  • Progressive frequent memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Personality change
  • Apathy and withdrawal
  • Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks

Furthermore, recent studies have concluded that regular exercise with a variety of different types activity such as resistance, aerobic, flexibility, balance and functional training for around 60 minutes per day, 2-3 times per week has been shown to be effective in improving the following…

Research has looked into other physical signs and has found that people with dementia often display reduced gait and balance, which could possibly indicate cognitive decline which impacts their ability to perform daily tasks (Li et al, 2019). One particular article of research concluded in their study that exercise played a positive role particularly those who were younger in improving their cognition and daily physical functioning however showed no impact on rates of depression (Li et al, 2019).

Furthermore, recent studies have concluded that regular exercise with a variety of different types activity such as resistance, aerobic, flexibility, balance and functional training for around 60 minutes per day, 2-3 times per week has been shown to be effective in improving the following: (Lam et al, 2018):

  • Lower limb strength
  • Mobility
  • Balance
  • Walking endurance

So what is the take home message? People who suffer from dementia are more likely to experience higher rates of depression and reduced physical functioning (e.g. poor balance and gait), and are therefore more likely to suffer from other health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis due to lack of regular physical activity. A prescribed exercise program can reduce the impact of these other health conditions, and help with the ability to perform daily tasks and the ability to maintain more normal social and working lives. Participation in physical activity will also reduce the possible social isolation that these people may experience which can improve their quality of life.

Contact Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain, Bella Vista on 1300 964 002 to enquire today about how exercise can help you or someone you know with dementia.

Written by Susannah Mah-Chut

References

Li, X., Guo, R., Wei, Z., Jia, J., Wei, C. (2019). Effectiveness of Exercise Programs on Patients with Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of BioMed Research International, Retrieved 24 November 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893254/

Lam, F., Huang, M., Liao, L., Chung, R., Kwok, T., Pang, M. (2018). Physical exercise improves strength, balance, mobility and endurance in people with cognitive impairment and dementia: a systematic review.  Journal of Physiotherapy, 64, (1), 4-15.

Dementia Australia 2020, What is Dementia, Dementia Australia, Retrieved on 24 November 2020, https://www.dementia.org.au/