Evidence supporting exercise interventions for persons in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease


  • Linda Buettner, PhD, CTRS, LRT
  • Nancy E. Richeson, PhD, CTRS
  • Fang Yu, PhD
  • Sandy C. Burgener, APRN-BC, FAAN, PhD
  • Kathleen Coen Buckwalter, PhD, RN, FAAN
  • Elizabeth Beattie, PhD
  • Ann L. Bossen, MSN, RN
  • Donna M. Fick, PhD, APRN-BC
  • Suzanne Fitzsimmons, MS, APRN-BC
  • Ann Kolanowski, PhD, FAAN
  • Karen Rose, PhD, RN
  • Janet K. Pringle Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN
  • Ingelin Testad, PhD, RN
  • Sharon McKenzie, PhD, CTRS




Alzheimer's, early stage, exercise


The purpose of this article is to grade research evidence supporting exercise-based interventions for persons with early-stage dementias and to report the recommendations of a consensus panel. The search produced 11 databased articles testing the effects of exercise interventions on a variety of outcomes. The body of evidence to support exercise interventions in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is growing and has potential as a treatment modality following translational studies in recreation therapy and other fields.

Author Biographies

Linda Buettner, PhD, CTRS, LRT

University North Carolina at Greensboro, Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Nancy E. Richeson, PhD, CTRS

Associate Professor, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine.

Fang Yu, PhD

As sist ant Professor, School of Nursing, Uni versity of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sandy C. Burgener, APRN-BC, FAAN, PhD

Associate Professor University of Illinois College of Nursing Urbana, Illinois.

Kathleen Coen Buckwalter, PhD, RN, FAAN

Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor, Gerontological Nursing; Director, The John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Elizabeth Beattie, PhD

School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ann L. Bossen, MSN, RN

Adjunct Faculty, College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Donna M. Fick, PhD, APRN-BC

Associate Professor of Nursing, College of Health and Human Development; Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

Suzanne Fitzsimmons, MS, APRN-BC

Consultant,. Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ann Kolanowski, PhD, FAAN

Professor, School of Nursing, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.

Karen Rose, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor of Nursing, Acute and Specialty Care, School of Nursing, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Janet K. Pringle Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor, John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, College of Nursing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Ingelin Testad, PhD, RN

Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.

Sharon McKenzie, PhD, CTRS

William and Sylvia Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York.


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How to Cite

Buettner, PhD, CTRS, LRT, L., Richeson, PhD, CTRS, N. E., Yu, PhD, F., Burgener, APRN-BC, FAAN, PhD, S. C., Buckwalter, PhD, RN, FAAN, K. C., Beattie, PhD, E., Bossen, MSN, RN, A. L., Fick, PhD, APRN-BC, D. M., Fitzsimmons, MS, APRN-BC, S., Kolanowski, PhD, FAAN, A., Rose, PhD, RN, K., Pringle Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN, J. K., Testad, PhD, RN, I., & McKenzie, PhD, CTRS, S. (2012). Evidence supporting exercise interventions for persons in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 11(1), 11–18. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2012.0012




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