This is a brief review of current evidence for the relationships between physical activity and exercise and the brain and cognition throughout the lifespan, 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 lifespan.
- Copyright © 2011, Journal of Applied Physiology