Exercise is about more than just movement regardless of age
Having medical problems, being on medication, a lack of access to facilities or a lack of interest in exercise can all have an impact on people’s ability to exercise in later life.
Living with a diagnosis of dementia can bring further challenges with regards to exercise and being physically active. But the good news is that exercise takes many forms and some research into the exercise Tai Chi showed the benefits for patients with dementia went further than just getting active
People with a diagnosis of dementia have double the risk of having a fall and then are increasingly likely to sustain an injury from having that fall. So looking at ways to minimise falls risk is a constant challenge for carers and those with dementia or similar conditions
A study based in Bournemouth looked at a group of patients with dementia who were enrolled in a Tai Chi exercise programme for 6 months and compared outcomes of both quality of life and balance with a similar group who were not taking part in Tai Chi.
They found confidently that the quality of life measurements were better in the group who had participated in Tai Chi compared to those that hadn’t.
Why? “ Those who did Tai Chi really enjoyed the classes and meeting up with others who have dementia and their family carers”
Whilst the numbers in a small study didn’t show as clearly the benefit for balance and a reduction in falls, the social benefits were clear.
A larger study is expected to focus on the physical benefits of Tai Chi further, specifically falls risk in those withe Dementia
Exercise is about more than just movement - Having a sense of purpose and a supportive social network are 2 further building blocks of brain health that are key to supporting our noggins and the noggins of those we care about most
Dr Clara Russell