Exercise to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease Across the Lifespan - Chapter 31: Exercise and Alzheimer’s disease

Exercise to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease Across the Lifespan, 2022, Pages 413-421
Susan Irvine and KathyTangalakis

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an incurable, and degenerative neurological disease, involving the loss of memory, cognition, reasoning, physical functioning, independence and associated reduced quality of life. The elderly are typically affected by AD, but it is not necessarily the outcome of aging.

This chapter will briefly outline the pathophysiology associated with Alzheimer’s disease and provide an overview of the impact of exercise programs on cognition, physical functional abilities, behavioral, and psychological symptoms and quality of life. There is evidence of a positive association with exercise and improvements in cognition and physical functionality, which also appears to be an effective strategy to reduce falls in individuals with AD. Besides, the evidence suggests that physical exercise could present significant improvements in functionality, the performance of activities of daily living, improvement in symptoms of depression, and some components of cognition. Multiple mode and aerobic exercise seem to have the most consistent positive effect on symptoms and overall quality of life.

Overall the research evidence regarding the impact of exercise is inconsistent due to the lack of methodological rigor, hampering comparisons across studies. Strategies for improving methodological rigor to provide more accurate insights into the effects of exercise for individuals with AD are discussed and recommendations outlined for future research and practice.