Dementia Patients Benefit From “Happy Antics” Holistic Exercise Program

Dementia Patients Benefit From “Happy Antics” Holistic Exercise Program
In a recent study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, researchers at Teesside University in the UK found that combining cognitive activities and elements of yoga, tai chi, qigong and meditation with routine physical exercise improves the quality of life of patients with dementia. In the study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Society (UK), the team developed a holistic approach called the "Happy Antics" program, which integrates an exercise plan involving activities that take into account emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual health of patients. For each of the 6 sessions, patients began with a cognitive activity where they had to see a picture of an object while the instructor spoke briefly about it. Afterwards, patients add to the discussion about the picture. Then, patients were submitted to physical exercises, including yoga, tai chi, qigong, dance movements, and meditation. A total of 15 patients attended the program, with an overall attendance of 70%. All patients said they enjoyed taking part in the holistic program, and reported that the participation in the program helped them socially, and that they felt more relaxed and had less pain. Some patients said that being able to learn a new exercise empowered them even if they had faced some physical difficulty during tasks. "When the wellness approach is applied to exercise, holistic exercise strives to encourage individuals not only to take part in the physical activities, but also to become aware of their own physical and
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