As exercise professionals we most certainly welcome the Government announcing the funding research into dementia doubling.
The Government has already committed to spend £52 million in 2012 to 2013, and up to £66 million by 2015; the ambition is now to double public, commercial and charitable R&D in dementia in the UK by 2025, supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions in seeking the next breakthrough.
Greg Small, Operations Manager for REPs, says, “While it’s obviously upsetting there are so many dementia and related conditions needing this funding, the investment is a welcome boost that can positively affect the lives of those people suffering from these conditions. Dementia issues already cost the NHS £5 billion each year – yet data shows that physical activity can drastically reduce the risk of major illnesses.”
A study [i] published this week in the journal PLOS One found that people who consistently followed four or five key behaviours experienced a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline, with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor. The other four behaviours were low bodyweight, a healthy diet, low alcohol intake, and not smoking.
Greg, who is also a REPs registered instructor, continued to say: “The increased funding should enable health clubs and leisure facilities to ensure people can get bespoke, professional training – enabling those people who need it the most to access appropriate fitness training from qualified professionals. REPs fitness professionals are fully qualified to provide the best possible encouragement and motivation, and ensuring correct exercise habits.”
According to the National Health Services, mental illness accounts for a third of all illnesses and, at any given time, one person in six experiences anxiety or depression. It is estimated that 25% of the UK population will experience at least one mental health condition at some point in their life.
Greg concludes, “Our aim as exercise professionals is to help everyone in the UK to get more active, and fitter. Through the combination of this additional funding, medical intervention and physical activities, we can all work together towards relieving families and society of the awful impact of dementia and its related conditions. If spent well, this investment will ensure patients and clients will receive the best possible treatment from those professionals qualified to do so.”
[i] Published in the PLOS One journal by researchers from Cardiff University, the study is the longest of its kind to probe the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease. http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/articles/healthy-habits-reduce-dementia-risk-12191.html
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