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Exercise and Dementia


Dementia is an umbrella term for diseases relating to the brain which affects thinking, memory and behaviour. There are many different types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.


Exercise can be used to both prevent dementia and to reduce the progression of the disease.


Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks

  • Difficulty in speech, writing or comprehension

  • Decreased or poor judgement

  • Changes in mood or personality


Benefits of Exercise

  • Exercise can slow the progression of dementia. Exercise helps to maintain adequate blood flow to the brain. This can also result in increased brain cell growth and survival.

  • Increases size of the hippocampus in the brain which is responsible for memory.

  • Increased testosterone levels which is important for maintaining brain cell structure and function.

  • Increased levels of BDNF protein which supports the heath of existing neurons and encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain.

  • Prevents muscle weakness and loss of strength.

  • Improves strength, aerobic fitness, balance and coordination.

  • Decreases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

  • Reduces high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

  • Improves mood and social participation.


 Exercise Recommendations

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