It has long been widely believed that physical activity would have beneficial effects in the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Counter-intuitive results from the Dementia and Physical Activity (DAPA) trial suggest that moderate to high intensity exercise training for people with dementia does not delay or slow rates of cognitive impairment in people with pre-existing mild to moderate dementia (and may possibly even worsen outcomes, except for slightly improved physical fitness).
Dementia exercise programmes ‘don’t slow brain decline’. London: BBC Health News, May 17th 2018.
This relates to:
Lamb, SE. Sheehan, B. [and] Artherton, N. [et al] (2018). Dementia And Physical Activity (DAPA) trial of moderate to high intensity exercise training for people with dementia: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. May 16th 2018; 361: k1675.
The NIHR full report:
Lamb, SE. Mistry, D. [and] Alleyne, S. [et al] (2018). Aerobic and strength training exercise programme for cognitive impairment in people with mild to moderate dementia: the DAPA RCT. Health Technology Assessment. May 2018; 22(28): 1-202.
An NHS Choices Behind the Headlines critical appraisal covers this research in detail.
Exercise ‘doesn’t slow’ progression of dementia. London: NHS Choices, Behind the Headlines, May 17th 2018.
However, suitable levels of exercise at different times in life could reverse the ageing of the heart and blood vessels.
Exercising regularly ‘can keep heart and arteries young’. London: BBC Health News, May 21st 2018.
Practical Advice on Healthy Ageing
Some practical advice on how older people can stay active and get into shape, thereby improving their health and wellbeing, from The Good Care Group.
Ways to keep fit in later life. London: The Good Care Group, December 5th 2017.