Daily exercise improves the thinking abilities and everyday quality of life of people with dementia, according to a new analysis of medical research findings.
The analysis, conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration and reported by the BBC
, involved a systematic review of eight exercise studies involving more than 300 patients living at home or in care.
Although exercise did little for patients' moods, working out boosted their cognitive skills and helped them carry out daily activities such as rising from a chair, the research showed.
"Though we can't say that exercise will prevent dementia, evidence does suggest it can help reduce the risk of the condition as part of a healthy lifestyle," said Laura Phipps, M.D., of Alzheimer's Research UK.
Added researcher Dorothy Forbes, of the University of Alberta, and colleagues who carried out the Cochrane review: "Clearly, further research is needed to be able to develop best practice guidelines to enable healthcare providers to advise people with dementia living at home or in institutions.
"We also need to understand what level and intensity of exercise is beneficial for someone with dementia."