Staying active when you have dementia

We are undefeatable - Julie

Staying active when you have dementia

If you or a loved one has dementia, physical activity can improve your quality of life. Find out how to stay active at any stage of dementia, with our We are Undefeatable campaign.

Alzheimer’s Society are supporting the inspiring new campaign along with 14 other health charities in partnership with Sport England - We Are Undefeatable.

One in four (15.4 million) people in England live with one or more long-term health conditions, including dementia. 

If you live with a long-term health condition, you're twice as likely to be inactive despite evidence that being active can help manage many conditions and help reduce the impact and severity of some symptoms.  Even small amounts of activity can make a significant difference to overall health and wellbeing.

'That feeling of fresh air and activity and a bit of a buzz can definitely help.' Julie

In the film above, there are two people living with dementia who stay active and feel the benefits. There is Mohan who stays active at exercising in his chair, and Julie who stays active by running with her husband.

Julie's story

We are undefeatable - Julie

Julie has Alzheimer's disease. She keeps active by running with her husband Peter.

Julie has danced her whole life, and taught at her own dance school for over 30 years. When she developed Alzheimer’s, however, she had a harder time teaching and staying active in the way she always loved. Her husband, Peter, has supported her as they’ve adjusted to how life is changing. Together, they’ve taken up running, which allows them to both stay active and socialise with the wider community.

They started by using a couch to 5K app, which helped them build up to the jogs they do today. The running provides both of them with a way to keep moving and has also linked them up with new friends, providing additional support.

Mohan's story

Mohan - we are undefeatable

Mohan is living with dementia. He stays active by exercising in his chair, with the help of his family.

Mohan was diagnosed with Dementia seven years ago. He’s fully mobile and still cracks jokes with family members like he used to, but his memory is not what it once was. As he says, he’s “still on his own two feet,” though, which he attributes to walking and staying active even while getting older. His family do everything they can to make sure he is happy and healthy, supporting him and helping him.

His daughter and granddaughter spend time with him around the house and take him to exercise classes, which he really enjoys.

Staying active when you have dementia

Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous and it is important to find a way of keeping active that works for you.

You might find it helpful to start off with a small amount of activity and build it up gradually. Even moving for a few minutes at a time is good for you.

Why is physical activity beneficial for people with dementia?

Staying active has a huge number of benefits for everyone, including people who have any type of dementia.

It can improve the health of your heart and blood vessels, and help keep your bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Staying flexible and strong can help with the ability to dress, clean, cook and perform other daily activities. It reduces the risk of falls by improving balance and strength.

Exercise and physical activity also help with getting a good night's sleep, and can be a great way to meet others and get social, which can reduce the feeling of isolation some people with dementia feel.

Take part in Memory Walk

Join Alzheimer's Society at our annual Memory Walk and unite together to raise money to defeat dementia. The walks are spread across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and each walk will take on a different route through either a city, woodlands or a park. You can take your own time and go at your own pace.

Find a walk near you

Dementia-friendly sport and physical activity

Do you work in the sport and physical activity sector? Download our free guide and find out how your organisation can become more dementia-friendly. 

Get the guide
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