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Dementia, Exercise and Endorphins

Exercise has a significant impact on the wellbeing of people with dementia, so researchers at the University of Nottingham launched a dementia-friendly exercise class.

Dementia and Alzheimer disease are now the leading cause of death in the UK, with one in 20 over 65’s living with the condition. Here in Nottingham, the number of people with dementia is higher than average, with early-onset dementia nearly double that seen across the whole country. 

Dementia isn’t just memory loss, it can impact behaviour, mood and wellbeing. But researchers at the University of Nottingham have found that regular exercise can boost mood, increase mobility, encourage social interaction and reduce the incidence of falls.

University of Nottingham Research Student Vicky Booth and Health Sciences Lecturer Dr Victoria Hood-Moore wanted to put their research into action. They developed a weekly exercise class to help Nottingham dementia patients stay fit, socialise and get active in an environment where they feel safe.

Vivian, who is in the early stages of dementia, comes to the classes with her daughter Margaret - and both think it’s made a big difference to her wellbeing.

Dementia patients take part in an exercise class at the University of Nottingham

Margaret said: “Although she’s tired afterwards, it perks her up. Sometimes she can’t remember she’s been, but it is really good at the time – look how happy she is!”

Vicky Booth said: “The classes are tailored to each individual’s abilities, and have been designed to specifically cater for people with dementia, whatever their level of cognitive impairment or fitness level.”

More information about the class is available by contacting or

“Exercise offers real benefits to people with dementia and can improve their quality of life – it can help to protect against physical ill-health related to a sedentary life style, as well as minimising the incidence of falls.”

Vicky Booth, University of Nottingham.