Shutterstock 269355833

It's Never too Late: The Benefits of High Intensity Exercise


Written by Fiona Callender, Research Assistant, University of Toronto

We are all connected to someone who suffers from one form of dementia or another – whether it is directly or through caregivers, friends or relatives. With incidence rising, and Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia now being the leading cause of disability and death in the aging population (Fratiglioni et al., 2000; Colantuoni et al., 2010), it is a disease that affects us all. In past articles we have discussed how high intensity exercise can help change the course of disease during the critical period before the onset of dementia; however, the research has been unclear regarding how individuals who are suffering from the disease could benefit from this type of exercise, especially in terms of their neuropsychiatric symptoms. 

In one of my previous contributions to Fast Twitch Grandma I referenced an article that discussed mild cognitive impairment being a risk factor for dementia, and how strength training could help alter the course of cognitive decline during this critical period. As it turns out, it’s not too late even once dementia has set in! High intensity and strength training exercise are valuable tools for everyone and every brain. In the recent article entitled Effect of a High-Intensity Exercise Program on Physical Function and Mental Health in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia: An Assessor Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial, Telenius, Engedal and Bergland discuss the positive effects of high intensity exercise training on elderly nursing home residents suffering from mild to moderate dementia.

This post is an excerpt from an article, originally published in FastTwitchGrandma, and is reprinted here with permission. Click here to read the full article (and other relevant articles) at FastTwitchGrandma.