Exercise may improve people with dementia’s cognitive function and ability to carry out everyday tasks, according to systematic review published today (Wednesday 4 December) in The Cochrane Library.
In the latest study, data from eight trials involving 329 people showed that exercise could improve cognitive functioning. Data from six studies involving 289 people showed that exercise could improve the ability of older people with dementia to carry out daily activities, such as walking short distances or getting up from a chair. Although there were not enough studies for the evidence to be conclusive, and not enough to tell us about the effects of exercise on other factors relating to dementia, the evidence was promising.
Dr Doug Brown Director of Research and Development Alzheimer’s Society commented:
‘We have known for some time that exercise helps reduce your risk of developing dementia but there has been little evidence of the true benefits for people with the condition. This research brings together existing studies which show how important it is to support people with dementia to remain fit and active. Even in the later stages of dementia people can benefit from different types of activities such as gardening or singing or even seated exercises, when they’re no longer able to stand.
‘We need sustained investment in this research area to ensure that people with the condition can live fulfilled lives for as long as possible. The upcoming G8 summit on dementia provides us with a fantastic opportunity to gain commitments from government.’