The Importance of Exercise for those living with Dementia
Most people would agree that physical activity contributes to health outcomes. For people concerned with dementia, these types of activities become even more important. Recent studies have shown that doing more physical activity such as daily chores, sport, or planned exercise delays the onset and progression of the condition.
Here in the HOMeCARE study we believe that people living with dementia can benefit from exercise. You may even want to join in these activities, and together make some small steps towards better health.
What types of exercise?
The benefits of exercise are specific to the type of exercise done. As such a fitness program usually has more than one type of exercise. As part of the HOMeCARE program, there are two types of exercises taught:
- Resistance training are exercises which helps to build strength. This includes your ability to slowly lift objects or pushing an item. As your muscles gains strength and size from training, you’re able to produce more force. Your bones and the ligaments attached are also trained which helps stabilize your joints and reduce risk of injury.
- Balance training refers to exercises which helps to improve your gait, coordination and your ability to move around obstacles. By improving these skills, you increase your ability to recognize and respond to stress as well as your ability to resist a loss of balance.
What are the benefits?
Exercise has many health benefits. Within the context of dementia, there are some specific benefits relevant to the condition. These include:
- Maintaining and building up strength for daily activities
- Preserving some independence at home
- Reducing the risk of falls and fractures
- Maintaining cognition and concentration
- Promotes a normal day-night routine
- Combats inactivity and boosts mood
- Facilitates social interaction
Carers have also reported improvements in managing caregiving challenges and stress when a regular exercise program for their loved ones is in place.