Surprisingly, Exercise May Accelerate Progression of Dementia

surprisingly exercise may accelerate progression of dementia

A latest research claims that exercise can increase your chances of having dementia. In the research, experts from the Oxford University identified that that gym sessions twice a week improved the physical health of older adults having Alzheimer’s. However, the four months exercise sessions not only failed to deaccelerate the loss of brain power, but actually speeded up it when compared with elderly patients, who did not exercise.

Earlier research claims that dementia can be prevented with physical exercise. The British Medical Journal research assessed around 500 patients having Alzheimer’s with the mean age of 77 years. Around 330 individuals participated in a special exercise programme, while the rest 165 just received standard medical care.

After a year, the scientists evaluated their brain power on the scale, ranging from of 0 to 70 with high mark indicating worse. Those, who were active scored 25.2 while inactive ones had a score of 23.8. So, the team concluded that there is a greater loss of brain power or cognitive impairment in the ones who exercised. The difference is very small but cannot be overlooked.

Sarah Lamb, the lead researcher, commented that some specific types of exercise may lead to cognitive impairment.


Almost 850,000 adults in Britain have dementia and this figure is proposed to hit the one-million mark by the next decade. There is no sure shot cure for this condition, but there are drugs that can help manage the symptoms.

Dr. Sara Imarisio, head of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that there is enough evidence that physical activity can help reduce the chances of developing dementia, but there has not been much research exploring whether there is an impact of exercise on the progression of the symptoms in people, who already have the condition.

According to this study, exercise did improve the physical fitness of the subjects, but the outcome was not indicative of more independence in everyday activities.

Rob Howard , professor at University College London, asserts that exercise may be harmful for Alzheimer’s patients. According to him, participants, who exercised, experienced decline in their cognitive function as compared to those, who did not.

He further added that although the study was conducted on a small population, it would be really interesting to find a positive correlation between exercise and cognitive functioning. He finally said in the light of this study, we, at the same time, cannot turn a blind eye to the possibility that exercise may worsen the condition of people with dementia.