One in three people over the age of 65 will develop Dementia, the majority of affected are females. As you age, the risk of developing Dementia increases and with our current aging population, the number of sufferers will greatly increase. Undertaking regular physical exercise will help reduce the chances of Dementia by up to 30%.
There are many benefits of exercise for long term conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but exercise can also improve your mental health. A study undertaken by Cardiff University assessed 2,235 men found that exercise had the biggest impact on dementia levels. Together with a healthy body weight, being a non-smoker, following a good diet and alcohol consumption below recommended guidelines (21 units for males and 14 units per week for females) helped lower the overall risk of dementia.
Symptoms of Dementia include memory loss (especially short term), depression, unsure with numerical tasks such as shopping transactions, difficulty in planning activities and mood changes. Undertaking regular exercise helps increase blood flow and oxygen around the body and for the brain this will help improve cognitive function and memory and helps slow down mental decline
As Dementia suffers are mainly over 65, physical activity will help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve bone strength which both worsen as you become older.
How much is the right amount of exercise?
Exercise will need to be tailored to individual health statuses and age and as with any new activity starting of slowly and increasing in duration and frequency over several weeks is very important. Adults should undertake at least 30 minutes moderate activity that raises the heart beat 5 days a week. This can include riding a bike, walking at faster pace than normal and gardening. With current busy work lifestyles if you decide to go jogging, swimming or play football then you should aim for 75 minutes over the week. The more active you are the better your health will be and in turn reduce your overall risk from Dementia. Exercising with friends or as an organised group such as playing tennis and jogging will keep motivation raised and be rewarding for everybody involved.
Slowing down the rate of Dementia onset
If you suffer from or help someone with Dementia activities such as gardening, swimming, dancing and gentle walks may be more of benefit. Activities that can be undertaken whilst sat down can also help such as pretending to swim, raising one leg at a time and lifting a bag of sugar up and down. If the Dementia is more progressed than, with help, try balancing whilst stood up, walking around the house or garden often and regular stretching will help improve muscle strength.
So you’re ready to unleash the new you, but before you start, anyone suffering from any cardiovascular conditions, asthma or COPD, fainting and dizziness should consult your GP first before starting your path to a healthier you.