Nearly 47.5 million people around the world deal with dementia. However, a new study suggests that moderate exercise might not slow down the disease.
On Wednesday, May 16, The British Medical Journal released a study prepared by a research team led by Professor Sarah Lamb of Oxford University. Lamb and her team sought results to see how a combination of aerobic and strength exercise training would affect people that were diagnosed with varying levels of dementia. UK's National Health Service backed this study.
The research team gathered a group of nearly 500 people who were in their 70s and suffered from the disease to participate in this study. The team assigned 329 people to partake in a four-month aerobic and strength exercise program. Twice a week for four months, the subjects did a 60- to 90-minute fitness regimen that included using dumbbells and exercise bikes. They were also told to work out for an hour at home once a week. Meanwhile, the other 165 subjects were advised to remain on their usual care, which included advice regarding physical activity.
Fitness Regimen And Quality Of Life
Lamb and her team evaluated the subjects through the Alzheimer's disease assessment score (ADAS-Cog). This judged the subjects' cognitive abilities, their quality of life, and rationalization process. They discovered that the people on the exercise regimen had higher ADAS-cog scores than the people who were on usual care. While their fitness regimen improved, their quality of life did not change.
While Lamb was disappointed with the results, she was not completely surprised. Lamb commented that dementia is a complicated issue to tackle. However, while she discouraged adding moderate to intense exercise to their fitness routine, she advised dementia patients should continue to gentler activities such as walking and swimming.
"It is important that people maintain mobility and health and we recommend continuing with gentle exercise if people are already doing that. If people don't do exercise at the moment, whilst we can't recommend doing a vigorous, specialized exercise programme like the one we tested, gentle exercise is our recommendation," said Dr. Lamb exclusively to Tech Times.
Recently, the British Journal of Sports Medicine released a study and found that men who work physically demanding jobs might be at risk of early death. The study focused on 193,000 men that worked various levels of physically exhausting jobs. Research shows that people with physically demanding occupations might have limited rest breaks, which could lead to having higher heart rates and blood pressure. It could also put a strain on the worker's cardiovascular system.
Jama Psychiatry published a study that stated exercising and weightlifting could reduce depression symptoms. Both physical activities are connected in improving the person's mental well-being and keeping them in shape. Meanwhile, members of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia hope that cancer patients include exercise as a part of their fitness routine. They recommended at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging, swimming, and walking per week.
Tech Times reached out to Dr. Lamb for a comment on this story.