Article

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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    • "Importantly, there are no published studies examining the effects of aerobic exercise training on inhibitory control, using a modified flanker paradigm in persons with MS. Based on the similar associations between aerobic fitness and inhibitory control in the MS and control samples, future studies should carefully examine exercise training effects on inhibitory control in adults of the general population (Colcombe & Kramer, 2003; Voss et al., 2011) that might be applicable for designing similar interventions in persons with MS. "
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    • "Sibley and Beilock (2007), for example, found that working memory was influenced by acute exercise only in individuals with the lowest initial working memory performance. It has been proposed that there may be little room for behavioral improvement in healthy, young adults as cognitive health often peaks during this period (Voss, Nagamatsu, et al., 2011). This could help explain why chronic exercise interventions in young adults often result in an overall minimal or mixed effect on cognition. "
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