Research consistently shows that people with dementia who exercise regularly are more likely to maintain their cognition, ability to do daily tasks, and live in their own homes.
How well the brain works is affected by blood and oxygen flow to the brain. This means that if your heart and cardiovascular system is working better, your brain will get more blood and oxygen. Physical exercise increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, also improves cardiovascular health, and also helps you stay strong and mobile so you can go about daily life.
We know exercise can help to improve or maintain memory, thinking, and the daily function of people with dementia. But it’s hard to keep active while daily COVID-19 cases are increasing and most of us are bunkering down at home to reduce our risk of contracting the virus.
Walking outdoors is low risk, especially in non-crowded areas. If you are walking in a more populated area, you can wear a mask while you’re out and about. If you have a garden in or close to your home, you can keep active with weeding, pruning and other garden maintenance. Or you could volunteer with a community garden if there is one nearby, or join your local Bushcare.
If you don’t feel comfortable exercising outdoors, or if the heat or rain prevents you from venturing outside, there are other options to keep active at home (detailed below).
If you are unsure about how much exercise, or the type of exercise you should be doing, read the article 4.2 Exercise to boost your physical health.
Online Home Exercise Options
Exercise Right – Exercise & Sports Science Australia
Exercise Right have put together a range of online workouts for older Australians that you can do in the safety at home, including:
- Strength and falls prevention
- Exercises for Osteoporosis
- Home mobility
- Strength and balance.
Exercise Right can also connect you to authorised providers of Better Ageing Classes. These subsidised group classes are offered in selected locations around Australia.
Safe Exercises at Home – Australian Physiotherapy Association
A team of Australian physiotherapists with expertise in physical activity for older people and people with mobility limitations developed a website to support older Australians to stay active safely at home during COVID-19. The Safe Exercise at Home website shares simple, functional exercises and ideas of safe ways for older people to increase activity levels while at home.
Go4Life Exercise Videos – US National Institute on Ageing
The Go4Life exercise videos are available on YouTube and are designed for older adults. The videos vary between 10- and 20-minutes duration including:
- Lower body strength
- Upper body strength
- 15-minute workout
- 10-minute workout
Active Seniors – Active Seniors Health Centre
Active Seniors have a variety of free online exercise classes on YouTube from 30 to 40 minutes duration including:
- Mobility and flexibility
- Balanced and coordination
- Strength classes
- Aerobic exercise classes
- Exercise class for Parkinson’s Disease.
You can also pay a subscription to gain access to 300+ exercise class videos in their library.
How to stay active at home – National Ageing Research Institute (NARI)
NARI’s exercise videos were developed by allied health professionals with expertise in exercise for older people. After watching the Introduction to Exercise Video, they have very short videos on:
- Stretching and flexibility
- Muscle strengthening
- Cardiorespiratory fitness.
Stay on Your Feet
Stay on Your Feet is a national program aimed at reducing falls. They have a lot of information about falls prevention, an exercise class finder and a Build Your Balance Exercise video.
Healthy and Active Online – NSW only
Healthy and Active for Life Online is a FREE 10-week healthy lifestyle program for adults aged 60 years and over. The program will help you learn how to make small, sustainable changes in your lifestyle to improve your health. The program covers lots of topics including healthy eating and physical activity. For more information and to register visit Active & Healthy NSW
Need help with technology?
If you need help with technology to engage in any of these online exercise programs, please consider the following programs: