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Ways that Exercise Helps Alzheimer’s Disease

Routine Exercise May Improve Memory, Cognition and Coordination

Physical exercise has long been touted as a way to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In recent years, a growing body of evidence suggests that exercise may also benefit those living with the disease, potentially slowing or reversing the progression of symptoms.

As a chronic progressive disease, Alzheimer's requires more than just medications to preserve cognitive function and the quality of life. People with Alzheimer's can benefit enormously from behavioral and environmental changesreality orientation training, caregiver support and other non-drug interventions. Physical exercise may be yet another vital tool in the Alzheimer's treatment plan.

Here are six Alzheimer's-related conditions that exercise may help improve:

  • Depression-Physical exercise stimulates the production of hormones and neurotransmitters associated with memory and mood. These include endorphins and encephalins that influence memory retention and serotonin which can help elevate mood and enhance memory and learning.
  • Restlessness and Wandering-A person who expends energy on exercise may be less likely to wander or be jittery than someone who is sedentary.
  • Balance and Coordination-Physical exercise can improve balance by strengthening the muscles in the legs, hips, torso and spine that enable an erect, upright posture.
  • Cardiovascular Complications-Routine exercise, along with diet, weight loss and the cessation of smoking, is central to the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases associated with diminished blood flow to the brain.
  • Sleep Problems-Routine exercise is one way to help overcome sleep problems.
  • Cognitive Impairment-Routine exercise may also prevent or reverse the loss of cognitive function in certain cases. Most of the current evidence suggests that aerobic exercise can help adults who have mild cognitive impairment as a result of age and Alzheimer's disease.

All in all, the benefits of exercise in people with Alzheimer's outweigh the possible risks if applied appropriately and safely.

To access the full article on exercise and Alzheimer’s disease, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally Health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this Pilates workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all of our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or