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Chair-based gymnastics has significant benefits for dementia patients - Age UK research

Published on 18 May 2017 04:00 PM

Age UK research conducted on behalf of the British Gymnastics Foundation has shown how chair-based gymnastic exercise can transform the wellbeing of people living with dementia.

  • ‘Dementia-friendly gymnastics' were developed by British Gymnastics Foundation for its Love to Move programme
  • Programme is based on state-funded scheme from Korea and Japan 
  • Care home staff reported noticeable physical improvements in patients and said they were happier and easier to connect with 
  • Age UK offers chair-based exercise classes around the country.

What is the Love to Move programme?

The British Gymnastics Foundation created the Love to Move programme to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

It is based on successful state-funded programmes in Korea and Japan. The results of these programmes have been so positive that they are now run in every care home across the two countries.

What makes the programme unique is its use of chair-based ‘bilaterally asymmetrical exercises', in which participants draw patterns from the left to right of their body.

Improvements in posture, movement and memory

Over 150 people have taken part in the programme so far.

Care home staff reported noticeable positive improvements in the majority of patients who participated. According to the research conducted by Age UK for the British Gymnastics Foundation: 

  • 71% are reported to have had noticeable physical improvements 
  • 86% are reported to be socialising with other residents and staff better
  • 93% of participants are reported to be happier and more settled 
  • All participants are reported as easier to connect with.

Some of the other improvements reported in patients were:

  • Being able to use their hands again to feed themselves 
  • Being more able to socialise with friends and family 
  • Some are being taken off medication for hypertension, depression and sleeping difficulties.

"For many of the older people participating, their external environment changed little.One can therefore be confident that much of the improvements observed will have been because of this programme," says Vinal K Karania, Research Manager at Age UK.


Get started with chair-based exercise

Age UK offers chair-based exercises in many locations around the country. 

Read more about the Love to Move programme

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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