Exercise, Brain, and Cognition Across the Lifespan

Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
Journal of Applied Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.43). 04/2011; 111(5):1505-13. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00210.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This is a brief review of current evidence for the relationships between physical activity and exercise and the brain and cognition throughout the life span in non-pathological populations. We focus on the effects of both aerobic and resistance training and provide a brief overview of potential neurobiological mechanisms derived from non-human animal models. Whereas research has focused primarily on the benefits of aerobic exercise in youth and young adult populations, there is growing evidence that both aerobic and resistance training are important for maintaining cognitive and brain health in old age. Finally, in these contexts, we point out gaps in the literature and future directions that will help advance the field of exercise neuroscience, including more studies that explicitly examine the effect of exercise type and intensity on cognition, the brain, and clinically significant outcomes. There is also a need for human neuroimaging studies to adopt a more unified multi-modal framework and for greater interaction between human and animal models of exercise effects on brain and cognition across the life span.

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Available from: Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Jun 26, 2015
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    • "It is well accepted that motor recovery after stroke is achieved through cortical reorganization, in which the brain and central nervous system (CNS) adapt in response to environmental and behavioral change to acquire novel information by modifying neural connectivity and function (Knaepen, Goekint, Heyman, & Meeusen, 2010; Mang, Campbell, Ross, & Boyd, 2013). Although the exact mechanism for cortical reorganization is not known, neurotrophins are thought to play a major role by enabling neuronal survival, potentiation, and differentiation; promoting dendritic growth and remodeling; and promoting synaptic plasticity (Lin & Kuo, 2013; Voss, Nagamatsu, Liu-Ambrose, & Kramer, 2011). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is of particular interest in basic science and rehabilitation research because of its responsiveness to physical activity and exercise (Knaepen et al., 2010). "
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    • "In the literature on the influence of exercise on neuroplastic changes in aging, research has suggested that not only does exercise induce the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels, it appears to increase production of important chemicals in the brain, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which may be important in the survival and repair of neural tissue (e.g., Voss et al., 2011). Similarly, in the domain of cognitive training, of particular interest are investigations demonstrating transfer effects from the trained domain to other aspects of cognition (e.g., Lustig et al., 2009; Noack et al., 2009) and associated underlying neural changes (e.g., Jones et al., 2006; Kelly & Garavan, 2005; Klingberg, 2010). "
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