Physical activity is widely recognised as being beneficial for persons of all ages. When it comes to consideration of the value of such activity for persons with dementia, recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses have been more ambivalent, with “conventional wisdom” sometimes disappearing into the mist.
A positive assessment:
Lee, HS. Park, SW. Park, YJ. (2016). Effects of physical activity programs on the improvement of dementia symptom: a meta-analysis. Biomedical Research International. October 2016; 2920146.
A more negative / undecided assessment:
Forbes, D. Forbes, SC. [and] Blake, CM. [et al] (2015). Exercise programs for people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. April 15th 2015; 4: CD006489. There is also an Executive Summary.
“There is promising evidence that exercise programs may improve the ability to perform ADLs in people with dementia, although some caution is advised in interpreting these findings. The review revealed no evidence of benefit from exercise on cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms, or depression. There was little or no evidence regarding the remaining outcomes of interest (i.e., mortality, caregiver burden, caregiver quality of life, caregiver mortality, and use of healthcare services)”.