Physical Exercise Boosts Capacity for Independent Living in Patients with Dementia or MCI

Pavankumar Kamat


January 03, 2022


  • Physical exercise therapy significantly improves activities of daily living (ADL), walking, balance, and visuospatial functions in patients with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that introducing a multicomponent exercise programme with moderate intensity, including cognitive, physical, and multitasking exercises may have a greater benefit than other types of exercise.

Study design

  • Researchers at Loughborough University, UK conducted a meta-analysis of 21 studies identified through a literature search across electronic databases.

  • Funding: Dunhill Medical Trust.

Key results

  • In patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, physical exercise therapy was significantly effective in improving:

    • ADL (standardised mean difference [SMD] ranging from 0.27 to 1.44);

    • walking (SMD ranging from 0.08 to 2.23);

    • balance (SMD ranging from 0.37 to 2.24); and

    • visuospatial function (SMD ranging from 0.16 to 0.51).


  • Study did not include outcomes such as cognitive functions and muscle strength which could affect the independence of individuals in ADL.

Begde A, Jain M, Hogervorst E, Wilcockson T. Does physical exercise improve the capacity for independent living in people with dementia or mild cognitive impairment: an overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Aging Ment Health. 2021 Dec 24 [Epub ahead of print]:1-11. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2021.2019192. PMID: 34951548 View Full Text.


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