Best foot forward for dementia help
WALKING can benefit people who have dementia, according to an expert working with a charity that specialises in caring for those with the illness. Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach Lavina Mehta is passionate about raising awareness and the benefits of exercise, and is working with the Alzhiemer’s Society to encourage Reading and Wokingham people to get out and about.
They says that people with dementia often enjoy the freedom of walking either as part of a planned day out with friends and family or by themselves, while walking in a safe environment provides physical and psychological benefits for people with dementia and can be a pleasant way of continuing a habit and remaining independent.
The benefits of walking for someone with the condition in Berkshire are the same as the benefits for anybody in that it can help to maintain mobility, it improves circulation and prevents muscle wastage, and it can aid relaxation and reduce anxiety, stress and depression.
Of all the lifestyle changes that have been studied, taking regular exercise appears to be one of the best things we can do to reduce the risk of getting dementia. Several studies looking at the effect of aerobic exercise in middle aged or older adults have reported improvements in thinking and memory, and reduced rates of dementia.
Ms Mehta said: “Dementia is close to my heart after seeing my Nani struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for the last decade of her life. She inspired me to take part in Alzheimer’s Society’s Trek26 in London in 2021. It was such a great experience and I would encourage others to sign up.
“I want to break down the barriers to exercise and open it up to people of all ages. There are huge benefits to health and wellbeing. Many people with dementia will have enjoyed taking part in regular exercise while some people may have exercised very little. It’s important people are supported to exercise safely, if they wish.
“Anyone who hasn’t taken part in regular exercise for some time, or with certain health conditions, should seek medical advice before embarking on any new activity.”
Now, the charity is encouraging people to join in with its summer activities. There are eight Trek26 events across some of the UK’s most breath- taking locations such as the Lake District, Brecon Beacons and the South Devon Coast.
Each trek offers 13- and 26-mile routes though the countryside, plus a city option for those who would like to explore Trek26 London, the opening event on June 3.
The other Trek26 events are being held in the Peak District, Cotswolds, Stonehenge and the North York Moors.
The Society says Trek26 is a vital fundraiser and a fantastic opportunity to visit and enjoy beautiful walking locations in England and Wales.
Among those taking part will be celebrity supporters including comedian and actor Hugh Dennis and broadcaster Siân Lloyd.
■ For more details, log on to: Alzheimers.org.uk/trek26
■ If you are affected by dementia, call Alzheimer’s Society’s support line: 0333 150 3456 for help and advice or visit alzheimers.org.uk