Exercise programs for people with mild to moderate dementia "do not work," researchers in the British Medical Journal said.
They found no improvement in thinking or behavior in more than 300 people in their seventies
On the positive side, their physical fitness improved, the study said.
The Oxford researchers said future studies should explore other forms of exercise.
Gentle, regular exercise was a good thing, they added, and there was no reason for anyone to stop exercising.
- Dementia Patients "Leave" by System
Currently, structured NHS training programs for dementia patients do not seem to be a good investment.
In the study, 329 dementia patients participated in training sessions lasting four to four months, lasting 60-90 minutes twice a week.
They spent at least 20 minutes in a fixed cycle, lifting weights as they climbed out of the chair.
They were encouraged to do exercises
The exercise group was then assessed and compared to a group of 1
Prof. Sallie Lamb, lead author and professor of rehabilitation at Oxford University, found that people who had dementia for two or three years could follow simple exercise routines and improve their fitness and muscle strength.
"But these benefits do not lead to an improvement in cognitive impairment, activities in daily life, behavior or health-related quality of life," she said.
At 12 months, the researchers found that cognitive impairment had declined in both groups, with a slightly lower exercise group – but the difference
Prof. Martin Rossor, a professor of clinical neurology at University College London, said the results are not surprising as brain cell degeneration began many years before the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
The message remains that exercise is good, but starting a exercise regimen once the disease is well established can be of limited value, "he added.
Fun to exercise
Dr. Sara Imarisio, Research Director at Alzheimer's Research UK These other forms of training could have different effects and this should be explored in future research.
She said that there were many benefits to physical activity, apart from mere health exercises.
19659007] "For many people, it can be a source of enjoyment and valuable opportunities for social interaction," she said.
"These considerations can apply to people living with dementia as well as anyone else.
Exercise is still thought to be one of the best ways to lessen the risk of developing dementia in healthy older adults.
But this research suggests that larger studies may be needed to develop an effective exercise program to develop the health of the brain among those already suffering from this disease]