WHAT ARE DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
Dementia is not classed as one specific disease, it is a group of conditions characterised by two of more impairments of the brain. It affects the brains ability to function through memory, cognition, behaviour and ability to perform daily tasks. Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians with an estimated 447, 115 Australians living with dementia is 2019. This number is expected to rise to 589,807 by 2028 and 1,076, 129 by 2058. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting up to 70% of those with dementia.
WHY IS EXERCISE IMPORTANT?
Exercise can help prevent or delay dementia through reducing the risk factors such as physical inactivity, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis and diabetes. Exercise is thought as medicine for those with dementia through slowing the progression, improving physical and mental function, slowing or preventing muscle wastage, controlling behaviour, improving mood and reducing depression. People who are physically active have less of a chance of developing dementia those who are not. Performing and maintaining regular exercise is associated with reduced beta amyloid levels, which is the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease as this a protein which forms plaque on the brain. Exercise increases testosterone levels which assists with preserving cognitive function and protect brain cells. The goals of exercise are to maintain or increase muscle mass and strength, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, increase testosterone and promote social interaction.
WHAT TYPES OF EXERCISE?
Slowly and safely progress towards 150-300 minutes of light to moderate exercise per week. Starting off with as little as 5-10 minutes of continuous exercise for 1-2 days a week and progress towards 30-60 minutes 5-7 days a week. This should consist of cardiovascular exercise (e.g. walking, cycling, swimming or boxing), resistance training (e.g. machine weights, free weights, bands and body weight exercises), stretching and balance activities. Set realistic short-term goals, plan to exercise at a time that is most suitable for your schedule and lifestyle and keep track of your progress. It can be beneficial to work with a trained professional such as an accredited exercise physiologist who are educated on mental health conditions and know the challenges faced by individuals with mental health conditions.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Our exercise physiologists will complete a comprehensive assessment to ensure exercise prescription is safe, and individualised to your conditions and needs. We offer a range of services including but not limited to: Hydrotherapy Gym-based exercise therapy Home-based exercise therapy Group sessions Pilates It is recommended that you to speak with your general practitioner or specialist prior to commencing an exercise program.