Senior Living Care Blog

How Exercise Can Help With Alzheimer's

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Jun 26, 2019 11:00:00 AM


The benefits that exercise can have on the brain and body are well researched and recognized. Exercise is something that can help virtually everyone, however, there is some growing evidence that shows that physical exercise may be able to help with the maintenance of brain size and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease risks like obesity, hypertension, stroke, and more.


While more research is needed to be done on the specific effects of physical exercise on dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Benefits of Exercise for Alzheimer’s Patients

Getting regular, moderate exercise such as jogging, walking, biking, stretching, swimming, and more can all help to prevent the progression of brain disorder and metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, all of which are risk factors of diseases that affect the brain.


High-intensity training is more effective in women than in men after six months of training. It is associated with an increase in functional cognitive abilities, cardio-respiratory fitness, and body composition. These are types of exercises have demonstrated a neuro-protective effect on the brain.


Aerobic exercises that involve power and balance can lead to important beneficial effects on health and can improve executive function, attentional capacity, processing speed, and multiple aspects of memory.


Staying Active With Alzheimer’s Disease

A group of women walking outside. Staying active is very important when one has alzheimer's.

For those who are already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, being active and getting proper exercise can be difficult. In fact, studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia show increased physical frailty.


However, it is still something that should be prioritized as exercise helps to keep the muscles, joints, and heart in good shape. Despite the fact that those with dementia demonstrated more fragility, patients could still participate in exercise programs that were designed to improve balance, flexibility, lower-body strength, and endurance.


While exercise is important and you want someone with Alzheimer’s to do as much as possible for himself or herself, at the same time you need to be sure that the person is safe while they are exercising or being active.


There are a number of ways that you can encourage or help your loved one become more active despite Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. For example, be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Sometimes it is better to have short mini-workouts rather than one long one. Moreover, it is generally best to just start slow and work your way up to more strenuous exercises.


One of the best ways that you can get started is by going on simple and short walks. Walking is one of the easiest ways to get the blood flowing and the heart rate up. The walk doesn’t need to be long, just a short one around the neighborhood can suffice. Getting out there and making an effort to be more active is all you need to do.


It is important to mention that you should encourage your loved one to drink enough water or juices to help them stay properly hydrated during exercise. Seniors deal with dehydration more than other age populations so be sure that they are getting


Where To Start

Exercise holds many positive mental and physical health benefits. Scientists have found that areas in the brain that control memory, skills, and organization can improve with exercise. However, getting started and sticking to an exercise routine can be difficult.



An older woman with alzheimers walking outside with a cane

As mentioned before, walking is one of the best ways to get started for exercising. It is a simple and easy way to get going. After a few days, weeks, or even months of taking walks around the block, you can maybe begin to incorporate runs or short jogs. If running proves to be too difficult or problematic, it can lead to some health issues so it is better to just be safe and stick to walking.



Two older individuals enjoying a nice dance together. Dancing is a nice form of exercise that can help with exercise

One exercise method that can help with brain health would be dance. The University of Illinois at Chicago found that when older adults took a Latin ballroom dance program, participants reported improvements in memory, attention, and focus. In a separate ballroom dance program, older people experiencing mild cognitive impairments improved their thinking and memory ability after a 10-month long program.



A woman practicing yoga. Yoga is a form of exercise to help with alzheimers

Restorative yoga is a low-intensity form of yoga that allows participants to focus on breathing, posture, and gentle movements. Yoga can help to improve things like balance and flexibility which can help seniors avoid falls.


Aquatic Exercise

A man swimming. Swimming is a great form of exercise for those with alzheimers

Aquatic-based exercises allow participants to do full-body workouts while in a pool, creating less impact on the bones and joints. This makes aquatic aerobics and swimming are good options to help improve aerobic fitness, they can help stimulate blood flow and improve sleep quality. Aquatic exercise provides senior citizens with a safe form of exercise as participants reduce their chances of tripping and falling.


As you can see, there are a number of easy ways that you can get started exercising. If you are interested in learning more about senior exercise programs, there are a number of online resources to help you learn where to start.


Next Steps

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are serious neurodegenerative problems that can interfere with a person’s day-to-day ability to live. While there is no cure, there are preventative measures that you can take and methods that you can implement to improve symptoms associated with the problem. Exercise is one of the best ways to make your situation better. However, for some, the problem becomes too severe and it requires the help of a caregiver or an assisted living facility.


Landmark Senior Living is one organization that is dedicated to providing your loved one with the quality care that they deserve. Landmark provides residents with access to care services such as memory care and social activities to help keep your loved one healthy and happy during their time with us. If you would like to learn more about Landmark, please visit our website and reach out for a complimentary walkthrough of one of our assisted living facilities in Beverly.


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Topics: Alzheimers

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