The conversations of life

How much exercise do we need to keep our brains healthy as we age? These new guidelines will tell you


The University of Melbourne has put together guidelines for older Australians and their doctors that outline exactly what you should be doing.

Developed with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre (DCRC), they are particularly designed for people with subjective cognitive decline (SCD).

Many people with SCD have normal cognition for their age, but some experience objective changes which can lead to a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

While not the same as dementia, both SCD and MCI are linked to an increased risk of developing cognitive decline or dementia later on – and exercise can help.

Time to get physical

The guidelines advise people to:

  • Aim to do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (30 minutes per day on five days per week) or at least 90 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic physical activity. This should be combined with trying to be physically active during daily tasks.
  • Do extra resistance training (also known as strength training) at least twice a week. This should also be combined with daily tasks which help with improving muscle strength.
  • Take part in activities that help to improve or maintain balance and reduce the risk of falls such as walking heel-to-toe or rocking onto heels and toes
  • Talk to your GP (or physiotherapist or exercise physiologist) before changing your physical activity routine to ensure that your plan is safe and considers your medical history.

With no medications available to prevent dementia, it’s a reminder that being physically active is one of the best ways to protect the brain.

You can read the full guidelines here.

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

Leave A Reply