Exercise has many known benefits for physical and mental health, such as lowering the risk of diabetes, strengthening bones and muscles, and reducing anxiety or depression. Physical exercise also plays a crucial role in controlling dementia symptoms. According to a study, aerobic exercise may constrict cognitive impairment and reduce dementia risk.
Although exercise helps reduce dementia risk, it is still valuable even if an individual has already been diagnosed. It’s important to learn how exercise can help control dementia symptoms.
Improves Cognitive Function
Physical activity keeps the brain active as it increases blood flow, reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Exercise boosts cognitive function by improving memory, reasoning, and judgement.
Exercise can also increase the size of the part of the brain that’s associated with memory formation, known as the hippocampus. The hippocampus shrinks in late adulthood, increasing the risk of dementia. A randomized control trial found that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the anterior hippocampus, leading to improved spatial memory.
Re-establishes Old Roles
Exercise in the form of engaging activities can allow an individual with dementia to re-establish old forms. For example, if someone loved gardening or dancing before their diagnosis, keeping them physically engaged can help them use unforgotten skills and encourage them to remain active.
It’s essential to keep the brain active by participating in various activities, which is why many dementia care facilities create a comfortable environment that encourages aging adults with dementia to stay active. A reputable memory care home will likely keep its approach versatile by offering therapies, engagement strategies, and routines, allowing seniors to feel at home while improving their cognitive functioning.
Reduces Risk of Falls
Many seniors with dementia risk falling due to mobility, balance, and strength problems. Depending on the dementia stage a senior is in, they may also develop a habit of wandering and have trouble paying attention to hazards, leading to further risk of falls. Exercising can reduce the risk of falls because regular exercise can improve strength and balance.
Boosts Mental Health
Changes in mental health, such as depression or anxiety development, are common indicators of dementia. Depression has been proposed to be a risk factor for dementia and a symptom of dementia.
Engaging in physical activity can release feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that boost one’s mood. This allows seniors with dementia to feel better, reducing the symptoms and signs of dementia linked to depression and anxiety. Some common signs of depression or anxiety in dementia include anger, anxiousness, reduced appetite, or ideas of worthlessness.
Corrects Dementia Behaviors
Dementia can lead to behavioral issues, such as aggression, delusions, confusion, and sleep problems. Exercise can reduce some of these symptoms as it improves reasoning and judgement. When seniors with dementia can make better decisions due to improved cognitive function, they’re less likely to display dementia behaviors.
Exercise can help control dementia symptoms, but it’s important to create an exercise program that takes the senior’s current health and abilities into account. Speak to a professional to determine what level of activity is suitable for your loved one and encourage them to exercise to improve their mental and physical health!