Getting started with exercise

It is important to consider the age, abilities and type of dementia someone has, as well as their needs and preferences, when they undertake physical exercise.

Some people with dementia will have participated in regular exercise over the years and the idea will not be new to them, while others might have exercised very little. Younger people with dementia may be able to undertake a greater amount of physical activity.

People who have not taken part in any regular exercise for some time, or those with certain health issues, should consider seeking medical advice. Talk to a GP, physiotherapist or relevant healthcare professional before starting any new exercise or physical activity if the person has any of the following conditions:

  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • unexplained chest pain
  • dizziness or fainting
  • bone or joint problems (that exercise may make worse)
  • breathing problems
  • balance problems
  • frequent falls.

These health conditions might not stop someone from participating in exercise. In fact, many of these conditions may be improved by exercise, but medical advice is recommended.

It is important to choose activities that are suitable for the person and that they find enjoyable. Exercise can be done individually, with one-to-one supervision or in a small group. Some people may like to try a few different activities to see what suits them best.