The Effects of Exercise on the Brain MK McGovern Exercise has been touted to do everything from treat depression to improve memory, with the power to cure a host of problems while preventing even more.
Received Nov 21; Accepted Mar 5. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Licensewhich permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Aerobic activity is a powerful stimulus for improving mental health and for generating structural changes in the brain.
We review the literature documenting these structural changes and explore exactly where in the brain these changes occur as well as the underlying substrates of the changes including neural, glial, and vasculature components.
Aerobic activity has been shown to produce different types of changes in the brain. The presence of novel experiences or learning is an especially important component in how these changes are manifest.
We also discuss the distinct time courses of structural brain changes with both aerobic activity and learning as well as how these effects might differ in diseased and elderly groups.
There is also a rich literature dating back at least 70 years from animal studies documenting the profound structural changes in the brain produced by complex or enriched environments.
These structural changes include, but are not limited to, synaptic size and density, complexity and extent of dendritic arbors, size and number of glial processes, vascular density, and rate of neurogenesis for reviews see Markham and Greenough, ; Pearson-Fuhrhop et al.
Animal studies have also demonstrated that exercise or physical activity produces very specific changes in the brain that are distinct from those produced by learning or novel experiences Black et al.
Recently, studies have been carried out in humans using non-invasive brain imaging techniques to investigate exercise-related changes in brain structure Erickson et al. Such studies provide compelling evidence for the powerful effects of exercise on the brain, but also raise several questions.
For example, do structural changes occur throughout the brain or are they limited to specific brain regions? What aspects of brain architecture are specifically modified by physical activity? On what time scale do these changes occur, and how persistent are they when exercise is discontinued?
Do specific preconditions such as aging, disease, or genetic phenotypes make individuals more or less susceptible to activity-based brain changes? This review will explore these questions as well as future directions in the study of the effects of physical activity on the brain. Several different methodologies have been employed to investigate these questions.
Many studies have been conducted on rodents using histological techniques. These studies provide an extremely detailed picture of the kinds of brain changes that occur with exercise. However, they are limited in that they require researchers to pre-select a specific region of the brain for slicing and staining.
They also do not afford the ability to utilize a truly longitudinal design, as the measurements require the animals to be sacrificed. A second body of literature has used neuroimaging techniques to investigate exercise-related changes in human participants. While these studies provide less direct measurements of the underlying changes in neural tissues, they have the advantage of allowing researchers to look for changes throughout the brain.
These studies are also amenable to longitudinal designs, which can more clearly establish causality of structural changes. Exercise refers to physical activity that is structured to meet specific fitness gains Caspersen et al. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that most adults engage in a regular exercise regime in order to maintain health and wellbeing, suggesting that higher activity levels are associated with greater health outcomes Haskell et al.
In the human literature the majority of the published work on the effects of exercise on the brain is in participants who may have also experienced brain atrophy due to either age (Erickson et al., ) or mental illness (de Lange et al., ; Pajonk et al., ). In the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain by Dr. John J. Ratey, MD (), Ratey discuses how exercise can help treat many mood . long term effects of exercise Essay Assignment 2 The Body’s responses to long term exercise A response to long term exercise is a change that happens to your body over a .
In addition, it is also recommended that individuals devote 2—3 days per week to resistance exercises for each of the major muscle groups, as well as neuro-motor exercises balance, agility, and coordination and flexibility exercises for each the major muscle—tendon groups.
Moderate-intensity exercise refers to exercising at sub-maximal workloads, during which energy is supplied by the aerobic energy system. Exercising within this zone results in a host of physiological responses to the increased metabolic demand for oxygen by the skeletal muscle, skin, and brain.
Prolonged training at moderate aerobic intensities results in physiological adaptations, including increased blood volume, capillary density, mitochondrial size and density, improved fat mobilization, and thermoregulation.
Collectively these adaptations represent improved cardio-respiratory fitness.long term effects of exercise Essay Assignment 2 The Body’s responses to long term exercise A response to long term exercise is a change that happens to your body over a .
In the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain by Dr. John J. Ratey, MD (), Ratey discuses how exercise can help treat many mood . For example, we now know that exercise promotes a process known as neurogenesis, i.e.
your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, regardless of your age. The featured article in Real Simple magazine 2 highlights a number of brain-boosting benefits of exercise, including the following. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the benefits of exercise on the brain and to explain the effects of stress on the brain.
Brain in Distress The stress response from the brain includes behavioral responses though a motor response, an endocrine response and an autonomic response. In the human literature the majority of the published work on the effects of exercise on the brain is in participants who may have also experienced brain atrophy due to either age (Erickson et al., ) or mental illness (de Lange et al., ; Pajonk et al., ).
The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.