Depression and a general health decline are common experiences for those dealing with dementia. What if there was a way to restore some measure of well-being, and improve a patient’s quality of life? Fight the ravages of dementia with a holistic exercise program that incorporates elements that focus the mind and mobilizes the body.

Teesside University in the United Kingdom was home to a study researching the effects of holistic blends of cognitive, Eastern exercise, meditation, and more common physical movements on dementia sufferers. In a combined effort, the Alzheimer’s Society (UK) and researchers developed a holistic exercise program titled the Happy Antics program. The program joined movements and activities that embodied feelings, thought, community connection, and spirituality. Sessions included cognitive exercise, warm-up exercises and then physical exercise similar to tai chi, yoga, qigong, and dance. Sessions ended with meditative breathing, and mindful awareness.

The study investigated a range of 15 people from their early fifties to mid eighties across six sessions. The attendance rate was 70 percent and included two volunteers, five caregivers, and eight persons with dementia.

“Observations at the sixth session showed that even though people with dementia could not remember what had occurred during previous sessions, six people with dementia who participated in the holistic exercise sessions could anticipate the physical movements associated with specific music and three people with dementia were able to remember the sequence of the physical movements,” said Dr. Khoo. “This showed potential in maintained procedural memory among people with dementia, who attended the holistic exercise sessions.”

Participants also reported a true enjoyment of the holistic exercise process, beyond the measurable results. They wanted to be at the sessions, they liked the social environment, and they felt inspired as they tackled challenging parts of the regime. Patients even reported that their tensions, as well as their aches and pains, were eased by the exercise routines.

Since the body and mind are deeply linked, it’s no wonder that a holistic approach is effective. This way of encouraging self-care helps patients become self-aware and purposeful, when it comes to their physical and mental health.

Read the full article here: Study shows dementia patients benefit from holistic exercise program – Medical News Today