Be physically active
People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which are all associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Physical activity also pumps blood to the brain, which nourishes the cells with nutrients and oxygen, and may even encourage new cells. As well, regular exercise helps to reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Think of it as "activity" not "exercise." For those who feel they have little opportunity to exercise, start by adding a bit of physical activity into your daily routine. Choose a brisk walk to the store rather than driving the car, or take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator for one or two floors.
- Choose activities and sports that you enjoy.
- Aerobic activities can help maintain general fitness. For example, many experts recommend walking as one of the safest and most effective forms of aerobic exercise.
- Start where you can and set reasonable goals.
- Plan physical activity with another person so that you are more likely to keep active while you also gain the brain-healthy benefits of social interaction.
- Check with your doctor about the kinds of physical activity that might be right for you or if you have specific health concerns.
- For more great ways to take action on brain health, visit our BrainBooster® activity pages.
Keeping busy has helped me to adjust to life with dementia. I walk up to 15 kilometers a day in warmer weather. I also spend a lot of time writing. Four years after my diagnosis, I published my first book. Now I’m working on my second.
- Paul Lea, living with vascular dementia
The Public Health Agency of Canada's Physical Activity Guide is designed to help us improve our health, prevent disease and get the most out of life.
Note: Your abilities, health and interests should be taken into consideration when choosing brain healthy activities. If you have questions about your own situation, speak to your doctor or health care provider.