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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;29(12):1242-8. doi: 10.1002/gps.4096. Epub 2014 Apr 15.

Moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a pilot study.

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Memory Disorders Research Group, Danish Dementia Research Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.



Physical exercise may modulate neuropathology and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This pilot study assessed the feasibility of conducting a study of moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise in home-dwelling patients with mild AD.


An uncontrolled preintervention-postintervention test design with a single group receiving the same intervention. A total of eight patients with mild to moderate AD from the Copenhagen Memory clinic were included in the study. The intervention lasted for 14 weeks and consisted of supervised, 1-h sessions of aerobic exercise three times per week (50-60% of heart rate reserve for a two-week adaptation period and 70-80 % of heart rate reserve for the remaining 12 weeks) Feasibility was assessed based on acceptability, including attendance and drop-out, safety, and patients' and caregivers' attitudes towards the intervention as well as other relevant parameters.


Attendance (mean, range: 90 %, 70-100 %) and retention (seven out of eight) rates were very high. No serious adverse events were observed. In general, patients and caregivers were positive towards the intervention.


This study shows that it is feasible to conduct moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise in community-dwelling patients with mild AD. Our findings indicate that aspects such as a longer adaptation period, information about injury prevention, and need for involvement and support from caregivers should be addressed when planning an exercise intervention in an AD population.


aerobic exercise; dementia; feasibility; intervention

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