Can exercise help with dementia?
The subject of the extent to which exercise can relieve dementia symptoms has recently attracted a fresh flurry of interest due to a University of Cambridge study which took into account more than a decade of research into dementia. The study had some intriguing revelations…
Physical inactivity: a leading cause of dementia
Statistics have suggested that relatively few people with dementia physically exercise to an adequate level; however, is this a case of correlation or causation? While more rigorous research is needed to precisely determine exercise’s impact on dementia, the Cambridge study has shed more light on the subject – and particularly Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.
The study found that someone can nearly half their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease if they simply engage in an hour of exercise weekly. In fact, physical inactivity could increase the Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 82%, making it the biggest risk factor of the seven main ones studied.
The next most significant risk factor was depression, with a 65% score, while midlife obesity was not far behind with 60%. However, research has vindicated theories that physical exercise can, in itself, help counter depression and obesity. This even further clarifies its powerful anti-dementia effect.
Could you cut your likelihood of suffering dementia?
How much exercise should you pursue if you want to lower your own dementia risk? The Cambridge study’s findings suggest that, on a weekly basis, vigorous exercise – like running – over three 20-minute sessions or moderate exercise, such as walking, across five 30-minute sessions is a wise goal.
Furthermore, in adjusting your exercise regime to suit, you could help yourself to prevent an array of adverse factors which have been attributed to heightened dementia risk. Such factors include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
What if you care for someone who already has dementia?
If a loved one – whether that be a relative or friend – has dementia, it isn’t too late for them to reduce adverse effects of dementia by engaging in physical exercise. For example, it could help them prevent their muscles weakening and so contributing to mobility problems.
Dementia can often cause stress and depression, both of which can be relieved in part due to exercise. However, if you are unsure whether they really should exercise, we at Kentish Homecare employ staff who can discern the answers through providing them with dementia homecare.