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Sep 07, 2023

Exercise for dementia – why it’s important and some of the best ideas

Discover how exercise can greatly benefit people with dementia, as well as some of our favourite exercise ideas 

When it comes to providing stimulating activities for people living with dementia, there is a great deal of thought concentrated on activities that can stimulate cognitive abilities and memory function such as puzzles, word games or looking through photo albums.  

Naturally, it is understandable that so much effort goes into finding ways to provide stimulation for the mind, but what is equally as important is stimulating the body for people with dementia through exercise, because very often one can have a beneficial effect for the other. 


Whether it’s indoor or outdoor exercise, helping and encouraging residents who are living with dementia to keep active with a variety of different physical activities can be hugely beneficial to their physical and mental wellbeing.  

So much of providing stimulating activities for people with dementia is about engaging with their senses and helping them to maintain their independence, a sense of self as well as a connection to the people who love them and the world around them, and physical activities provide the perfect stimulation to achieve all these goals at once. 

There are many ways that exercise can benefit someone with dementia both physically and mentally. These include: 

  • Improved heart health as well as improved health of blood vessels, which reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. 
  • Improving physical fitness which means maintaining stronger muscles and as much flexibility as is possible. This can help people maintain independence for longer, reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and stability, and might even mitigate some of the physical issues that are present in the later stages of dementia. 
  • Exercise means utilising the body's energy stores, which in turn means a greater chance of improved sleep, which can counteract the common issues of agitation, restlessness and insomnia that come with dementia. Also, studies show that a good night’s sleep can positively affect a person’s mood and cognitive abilities. This potential for improved cognition also means there is a chance to slow down mental decline.  
  • Reducing isolation by providing outlets for social interaction with family, fellow residents and care staff 
  • Studies show that exercise can create a positive mood, which can boost confidence and self-esteem, which can counteract the common issues of depression and anxiety in people with dementia. 


Get moving with these exercise ideas

While any type of movement can bring benefits for someone living with dementia, below is just a few of the many exercise ideas to try with residents: 


Oomph! OnDemand

Hundreds of activity ideas and programs, all created by experts and designed to provide quality of life to those living in care homes.

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September 7, 2023

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