Exercise benefits a person’s health a great deal, and it can also help to reduce the risk of developing dementia. Researchers now want to know if it can slow the progression of dementia once it has already begun.

How it works

Dr Sukhi Dosanjh is the manager of DAPA. She explains that they are looking to:

“Study the effects of physical activity (exercise) on cognition (memory and understanding) and function (daily activities) in people with mild to moderate dementia who live in the community.
Living in the community means those people who live in their own home or sheltered accommodation.”

There will be two groups taking part, with members chosen entirely at random by computer selection. Then, one group will take part in the exercise designed by the study team, whilst the other just continues its regular care.

This will let researchers compare and understand the results. We asked Dr. Dosanjh what volunteers will be doing in the study exercise.

“People who are allocated to exercise will exercise in group of 6 to 8 people. The group sessions will be held at a local venue (usually a local gym or community centre).
Travel expenses to get to and from the classes will be reimbursed by the trial. Each group will exercise for 1 hour twice a week for 4 months.

The DAPA exercises are a combination of aerobic (bike) and resistance (weight) exercises. Even though DAPA is a group exercise programme, each person will work to their own abilities.
The exercise programme is led by a specially-trained physiotherapist and an exercise assistant.

When the group programme finishes, each person will be encouraged to continue to exercise either at home or by using local facilities.
The physiotherapist in charge of their group will help the person find the best way to continue to exercise.”

As well as helping people improve their physical and mental health, hopefully the results will show a positive effect on the progression of dementia.

Get Involved

The study is looking for men and women who are living in their own homes, have probable dementia of mild to moderate severity, and are having increasing difficulty with their memory and ability to carry out daily tasks.

Using the service could help Dr. Dosanjh recruit much faster than expected. ” We fully expect to reach the study target of 468 by next summer and with the interest generated via ‘Join dementia research’, we may achieve this even earlier!”

If you are interested in this study, and believe you meet the requirements, please sign up to ‘Join dementia research’ by using the link on the right, and also find out what other studies you may be eligible to help us with.