What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain. There are many different types of dementia, with the four most common types being:

Effects of Dementia

  • Memory difficulty
  • Cognitive ability, i.e. processing information
  • Communication.
  • Isolation
  • Attention
  • Reasoning & judgment

Top Tips to Reduce Risk of Dementia

150 minutes of moderate physical activity will reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by up to 21.8%[OA1]

Reducing the time you spend sitting, watching TV, using a computer, will compliment your physical activity by reducing sedentary behaviour. Move little and often, at least twice per hour,

Start small. The biggest improvements come from making small changes that you can increase safely and incorporate into your daily routine. Like taking the stairs not the lift; Parking at the back of the car park not by the door; Getting off the bus a stop early; Walk short journeys.

Any activity for more than 10 minutes at a time will build toward your 150-minute goal.

Aerobic activities are best – try starting with a gentle walk, bike ride, or swim.

Strength building activity is also important. Try yoga or some resistance work to keep muscles strong.

Moderate intensity physical activity is any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate and may make you sweat, but you are still able to hold a normal conversation.

Try some more sociable exercises, like doubles tennis, dancing, yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or brisk walking with a friend. Exercising with a friend can help keep you committed.

Try using an app like Public Health England's Active 10 app to monitor your walks and ensure you're walking briskly.

Are you uncomfortable exercising in a group? There are lots of home-based activities that you can do to improve strength, stamina, and flexibility: mowing the lawn, digging in the garden or pushing a wheelbarrow, or doing chair-based exercises.

As your strength, confidence and stamina improves, try to aim for the recommended 150 minutes moderate activity per week. This can be broken down into bouts of 10 - 20 minutes whenever you can fit it in.

People in the early stages of dementia may experience no new difficulties in sports and other physical activities they enjoy, and ought to be encouraged to continue to be active, or to take up new activities if they have previously been inactive.

Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and may improve the quality of life for people in all stages of the condition, and help to maintain independence, provide a great sense of enjoyment, as well as keep you in touch with other people and improve your quality of life.

Most importantly choose activities that you enjoy, as you are more likely to continue doing them.

For your free practical guide for sport & physical activity 'download a guide':

Visit your GP for a check-up if you haven't exercised before; if returning from injury or if you're returning to exercise after a long break.

Always seek advice from you GP & if advised to, do not exercise.

Further information about dementia and physical activity