Enjoy a medium or fast paced walk, or run, in beautiful Lakes Park in Fort Myers! Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II
Statistically speaking, the world health organization estimates that the number of people living with dementia is currently 47.5 million and is projected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030.
The total number of new cases of dementia each year is nearly 7.7 million, implying 1 new case every 4 seconds.
The economic burden on the US healthcare system is an estimated $604 billion annually, which will only increase as the disease becomes more prevalent.
These are certainly statistics to take note of!
Per the Alzheimer’s Association:
“Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities.”
With the increases in cases yearly coupled with the financial strain on healthcare, what can be done to slow or decrease the rate of diagnosis, improve patient outcome and effect quality of life?
Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia and slow the progress of the disease. If you haven’t started exercising yet, I can’t think of a better reason to become a late bloomer.
Exercise offers very similar physical and mental benefits for people with dementia as it does the general population.
Exercise protects against diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity. All of which are risk factors for dementia.
Exercise can also help individuals deal with the symptoms of depression, which is common in persons diagnosed with dementia.
Participating in a regular exercise program creates routine and focus and ensures that as people age they maintain the strength they need to perform daily living activities (DLA’s).
Further review finds that in addition to the above-named benefits, regular exercise significantly improved behavior, delayed cognitive decline and improved cognitive performance for people with dementia.
These finding highlight the importance exercise plays in improving DLA’s and quality of life for people with dementia.
If you are thinking of starting an exercise program for yourself or a loved one with dementia, there are a few safety guidelines to consider:
Before beginning a program, consult with family and health care professionals as to one’s level of capability. Perception of ability may be based on previous memories and may change depending on the stage of disease.
Make certain exercises are simple movements with clear, concise instruction.
Monitor form closely, especially when introducing new movements.
Do more complex or multi-joint movements at the beginning of a session before fatigue sets in. Individuals with dementia are typically best suited to exercising in the morning.
Finally, always check the environment for hazards. Balance is a primary concern for people with dementia and therefore the exercise environment should be checked for anything that might present a tripping or fall hazard.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you'll really enjoy our 14 DAY MINDSET CHALLENGE which is part of our Monthly Membership program helping & supporting you toward living your best life!
Our Geared Up theme for you is "Health, Wellness & Fitness in a Multi-Sport Lifestyle". Find out all of the ways we can support you through our Membership programs here.
Let's go on this journey together and change your life as always, “Practice with Purpose and Live with Passion!”