Benefits of Home Gyms for Individuals Living with Dementia by Karoline Gore

Benefits of Home Gyms for Individuals Living with Dementia

Karoline Gore is a personal trainer who has spent many years helping people to meet their fitness goals which has given her insight into what different people require. Karoline says that ‘Although every town has public gyms, attending a gym costs money and not everyone can travel easily to one. This can make it difficult for people to exercise as much as they’d like. By installing a home gym, I’ve found that my clients find it much easier to meet their fitness goals.’

Read Karoline’s advice on exercise for good health here:

People living with dementia face challenges every day. Whether it’s cognitive or physical, these challenges can be overwhelming and often result in added depression or restlessness. Caring for someone with dementia can be a struggle, but research has shown that introducing a home gym and regular exercise can be beneficial for both and carer.

How Exercise Helps

Researchers are working non-stop to discover ways to improve the lives of those with dementia, as well as find a cure. Exercise is one simple way to improve strength, stamina, and cardiovascular health, but it has cognitive advantages as well. Exercise helps those focus on one task at a time. It improves mood and elicits better sleep patterns. A person living with dementia and exercise regularly with others communicate better and experience improvements in social skills that had otherwise deteriorated.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, one of the most recognised improvements in people living with dementia is how regular exercise offers a healthy balance. Repeated falls and the resulting injuries can be as detrimental to an individual’s health as the disease itself. As a result, performing flexibility and balance-related exercises on a regular basis can make a significant impact. Exercise related supplementation programs can help provide additional nutrients, which improve cognitive function.

Appropriate Exercises for Dementia 

It’s important to note that exercise should always be done with a carer or supervision from a suitable person in a safe environment. Shorter durations of 10 to 15 minutes are a good place to start. Individuals can build up to longer or more frequent sessions if approtriate. Warming up properly with strength building yoga and/or a walk can help reduce chances of injury as well.

Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that produce positive feelings. As long as the person is enjoying themselves, the experience will remain positive. However, if the individual becomes agitated, confused, or feels too hot or sickly, the exercise should cease immediately. Exercises that are effective for people living with dementia include:

  • Walking

  • Cycling

  • Resistance Training

  • Weight Training

  • Aerobics

  • Flexibility

  • Balance

Dance is another form of exercise that can greatly improve a person’s physical and mental health. It’s recognised that people who sing and dance also tend to laugh and enjoy themselves. These feelings are carried with the individual after the exercise, often resulting in remembering and looking forward to the activity at a later date.

Combine Exercise with Proper Nutrition

Setting up a gym in one’s home is a great way to provide consistent exercise in a comfortable environment. However, good nutrition is a critical component of overall mental and physical health. A high-nutrient diet with plenty of water and oxygen coupled with regular exercise will result in more significant positive effects than either alone. With exercise and proper nutrition, individuals living with dementia can have hope for a more fulfilling life.

By Karoline Gore

See the Happy Days range of activity materials to help encourage movement and exercise

Try these colourful mobility prompts with music and enjoy prompting good health practises