HEALTH

Dementia and Exercise: How to Boost Cognitive Health?

Dementia and Exercise: How to Boost Cognitive Health?
Written by Vertical Wise

Use it or waste it is a proverb referring to physical and mental well-being. We know the need to stay active regularly, particularly as we age and work to lower our risk of contracting illnesses and other aging-related health problems.

Physical and psychological exercise helps the brain’s cognitive capacity. It is the capacity to endure neurological impairment brought on by aging and other circumstances without shutting down or losing memory.

In this article, we’ll explore how exercising can help boost your cognitive health and defeat dementia.

Does exercise improve dementia?

There is evidence that regular physical exercise may help improve symptoms of dementia, as well as potentially delay its onset. Exercise has been proven to enhance cognitive performance and boost blood circulation to the brain, which could also aid with people’s memories and cognition. In dementia patients, it might lessen their likelihood of developing depression.

Exercise has been found to have several benefits for people with dementia. Some ways in which exercise may help include:

1.    Improving brain function: Exercise has been found to increase the production of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein. It helps with the growth and survival of brain cells.

2.    Increasing blood flow to the brain: The increase of blood to the brain help in brain functionality related to memory.

3.    Reducing inflammation: Exercise has been found to reduce inflammation in the body, which has been linked to the development of dementia.

4.    Improving mental health: Exercise has been found to positively affect mental health, which can help reduce the risk of depression in people with dementia.

5.    Improving physical function: Exercise can help improve physical function and mobility in people with dementia, which can help with activities of daily living.

It is important to note that exercise should be tailored to the individual’s abilities and done under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

What type of exercise is best for enhancing cognitive functioning?

No single type of exercise is best for dementia, as different types of exercise may have different effects on different people.

Research has found that all types of exercise may affect cognitive functioning in dissimilar ways. However, some types of exercise that have been found to have positive effects on cognitive function include:

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, have positively affected cognitive function, particularly concerning memory and attention. Aerobic exercises are best used to improve blood circulation. Additionally, it has been found to affect mental health positively. It may help reduce the risk of depression in people with dementia.

Resistance training 

Resistance training can help improve: muscle strength, endurance, and balance, making it easier for people with dementia to perform everyday tasks, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, and climbing stairs. 

Resistance training, such as weightlifting, has been found to positively affect cognitive function, particularly regarding executive function (e.g., planning, problem-solving, and decision-making). Resistance training can also improve physical function and mobility in people with dementia, which can help with activities of daily living.

Balance and coordination exercises

Balance and coordination exercises are types of physical activities that help to improve an individual’s ability to control and maintain their balance and coordinate the movement of different body parts. These exercises can help improve balance, coordination, and flexibility, reducing the risk of falls and helping maintain physical function.

Mind-body exercise

A mind-body exercise is any form of physical activity that incorporates elements of mindfulness and meditation. These exercises typically involve the coordination of movement, breathing, and mental focus. They are thought to benefit both the mind and body. 

They can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall well-being. Mind-body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation have been found to positively affect cognitive function, particularly concerning attention and reaction time.

A combination of different types of exercise may be the most beneficial for cognitive function.

Last Words

Dementia is a complex condition that affects people severely. Click here to know how doctors diagnose dementia. The best exercise plan for individuals with dementia will depend on their specific needs and abilities. 

Some types of exercise, such as aerobic exercise, resistance training, balance and coordination exercises, and mind-body exercises, have positively affected cognitive and physical function in people with dementia. 

It is essential to get in touch with a healthcare professional to develop the best exercise plan for an individual. The healthcare professional can take into account the person’s physical and cognitive abilities, as well as any other medical conditions, and can help create a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to their specific needs.  

About the author

Vertical Wise

The international website working to support and spread the word about the pole and aerial fitness

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