If you or a loved one are dealing with dementia, then you know how much of an impact the symptoms can have on your daily life and the ability to live independently. 

One of the best things you can do to help manage these symptoms and improve overall quality of life is to start an exercise program specifically designed for people living with dementia. An excellent example of this kind of program is the Love to Move exercise program developed by the British Gymnastics Foundation (BGF).  

This chair-based program was developed specifically for seniors who need a simple, effective way to move that they can do at home. It has been shown to have numerous positive benefits for people living with dementia, such as:

  • Improving cognitive function
  • Reducing depression
  • Enhancing balance
  • Increasing the ability to manage daily tasks

How the Love to Move program works

The Love to Move program is based on a series of simple, chair-based exercises that stimulate cognitive function and trigger memory through the use of movement and music. It was inspired by expert research in Japan that involved dementia patients who lived in nursing homes. 

The BGF was motivated by the impressive results that Japan’s research team discovered. They found that the vast majority of patients who undertook the exercise program experienced significant improvements in their physical abilities, their social relationships with other nursing home residents, hospice care patients, and staff, and their personal happiness and sense of well-being.

Why exercise is effective in managing dementia symptoms

The Love to Move program is designed around exercises that require a good amount of concentration. Specifically, they involve performing different but simultaneous movements with the right and left side of the body. An example is rubbing your stomach while patting your head. It’s a move that seems simple but actually requires an incredible amount of focus and coordination. 

These types of exercises strengthen the right and left sides of the brain, promoting neural connections that boost cognitive ability and mitigate dementia-related cognitive decline. 

The result is overwhelmingly positive, allowing people who live with dementia to better perform everyday tasks such as eating meals on their own and interacting with others.

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