Exercise and physical activity

2. Benefits of exercise and physical activity

Exercise and physical activity may bring many benefits for people with dementia. These include:

  • improving the health of the heart and blood vessels, which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
  • reducing the risk of some types of cancer (particularly breast and colon cancer), stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • improving physical fitness - maintaining strong muscles and flexible joints can help people maintain independence for longer
  • improving the ability to dress, clean, cook and perform other daily activities (as these may be performed more effectively if someone is fitter or more supple)
  • helping to keep bones strong and reducing the risk of osteoporosis (a disease that affects the bones, making them weak and more likely to break)
  • improving cognition - recent studies have shown that exercise may improve memory and slow down mental decline
  • improving sleep
  • providing opportunities for social interaction and reducing the feeling of isolation
  • reducing the risk of falls by improving strength and balance
  • improving confidence
  • increasing self-esteem
  • improving mood.