By 2025 it is estimated that there will be over 1 million people living with dementia in the UK. Dementia is most commonly known for affecting a person’s memory however it can also lead to many other issues such as:
- struggles with everyday tasks,
- mood swings,
- difficulty communicating,
- and has even been shown to affect how a person walks, leading to an increased risk of having an injurious fall.
Dementia is mostly associated with advancing age, however according to the Alzheimer’s Society it is not a normal part of ageing. It is a specific disease and each person’s experience of dementia can differ. It is therefore important to protect ourselves and as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.
The good news is that exercise and physical activity can play a lead role in protecting us against developing dementia.
A recent study followed almost 250,000 people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – usually a precursor to developing dementia – aged over 40 for six years. They found that those who were physically active for at least 10 minutes more than once per week were 18% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, a type of dementia, than those who did no exercise. Moreover, exercising three to five times per week was more protective than exercising less than three times per week. In short, exercise really is medicine and can help reduce the risk of developing dementia, even in those who have been diagnosed with MCI.
But why is exercise so beneficial?
It is thought that being more active increases the blood flow to the brain and the secretion of proteins that maintain the structure and function of neurons and synapses in the brain. This maintains our white and grey matter and protects them from decline which can be associated with dementia.
The UK Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Witty recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. This can be achieved in smaller chunks such as doing 10 minutes a few times a day. Even housework is beneficial if it gets you hot and raises your heart and breathing rate such as vacuuming.
However, as we all endure another lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, if you are unsure what exercise to do why not try our Club? The Move it or Lose it Club is a great way to stay active, engaged and connected during lockdown.
Enjoy a month’s free membership to the Move it or Lose it Club and enjoy live classes, pre-recorded exercise sessions, our social club and weekly activities. There’s no need to enter any payment details and you can cancel anytime!