Exercise is important for all of us, but for those of us who have dementia, it’s essential. Regular exercise has been shown to help slow the progression of the disease and improve symptoms, so it’s incredibly important those living with the condition stay active. Here are 10 of our favourite exercises to help get your loved one moving.
Gardening is a fantastic form of exercise for someone with dementia. Not only is gardening a good way to flex your muscles and work up a sweat, it also gets you out in the fresh air for an hour or two. What’s more, many people find gardening therapeutic, so you may well find you, or your loved one, feel calmer and happier after some time pruning, raking and weeding.
Walking is an easy and accessible form of exercise for people with dementia. Even 30 minutes of walking a day is enough to see a range of health benefits, so strap your shoes on, get out and get strolling.
There’s no reason people with dementia can’t enjoy a dip in the pool as long as they’re supervised. Look for dementia-friendly aqua aerobics or swimming classes in your local area or simply take your loved one for an afternoon in the pool.
If you’re going to take a loved one with dementia cycling, it’s important you stay off the road and away from any hazards. Head to your local park, or find an accessible bike route in the local countryside, and have some fun on two wheels.
- Tai Chi
Calming and invigorating, Tai Chi is a fantastic form of exercise for older people who want to keep active. The repetition can be especially beneficial for those with dementia, so why not give it a go?
As well as being great exercise, dancing is a lot of fun. If your loved one likes listening to music from their youth, find a local tea dance and taken them for a whirl.
Bowls is a very gentle form of exercise that’s suitable for people of all abilities. Play indoors in the winter and head out onto the green when the sun comes out.
- Seated exercises
There are a lot of seated exercises people with dementia can do to strengthen their bodies and get the blood pumping. Take a look online to find suitable workouts or look for a dementia-friendly exercise class in your local area.
Yoga can be adapted to suit people of all abilities. Doing yoga on a regular basis helps to strengthen the body, calm the mind and improve wellbeing. Talk to your local yoga centre to find out what they offer.
If you don’t have time to get out to an exercise class or even for a walk, you can still get the blood pumping with a little spring clean. Vacuuming, dusting, mopping and sweeping all burn calories and get your body moving, so there’s no excuse to sit still.
Get more information about activities near you that will get you exercising by visiting my dementia network