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People With Alzheimer’s Can Stay Physically Active

Regular physical activity has many benefits for Alzheimer's patients

NIH/National Institute on Aging

Regular physical activity has many benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise helps keep muscles, joints, and the heart in good shape.

It also helps people stay at a healthy weight and can improve sleep.

Caregivers can help people with Alzheimer’s disease be more active and stay safe:

  • Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several 10-minute “mini-workouts” may be best.
  • Help get the activity started or join in to make the activity more fun.
  • Find time in the morning for exercise.
  • Break exercises into simple, easy-to-follow steps.
  • Choose comfortable clothes that are suitable for the weather and appropriate shoes that fit well.
  • Make sure both you and the person with Alzheimer’s drink plenty of water when exercising.

Some physical activities to try:

  • Take a walk together.
  • Do simple tasks around the house, like sweeping and raking.
  • Work in the garden.
  • Play music and dance.
  • Exercise with videos made for older people. Try the sample workout on the National Institute on Aging’s free Go4Life DVD.
  • Throw a soft rubber exercise ball back and forth.
  • Lift weights or household items, like soup cans.

Quick Tip

Try being active together. Physical activity and exercise are good for caregivers, too.

  • Use resistance bands, which you can buy in sporting goods stores. Be sure to follow the instructions.

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