July 25, 2011
Science Daily/American Physiological Society
A new article highlights the results of more than a hundred recent human and animal studies on how aerobic exercise and strength training play a vital role in maintaining brain and cognitive health throughout life. Researchers also suggest questions remain in the field of exercise neuroscience -- including how exercise influences brain physiology and function and the relationship between human and animal studies.
It's no secret that exercise has numerous beneficial effects on the body. However, a bevy of recent research suggests that these positive effects also extend to the brain, influencing cognition. In a new review article highlighting the results of more than a hundred recent human and animal studies on this topic, Michelle W. Voss, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her colleagues show that both aerobic exercise and strength training play a vital role in maintaining brain and cognitive health throughout life.
However, they also suggest that many unanswered questions remain in the field of exercise neuroscience -- including how various aspects of exercise influence brain physiology and function and how human and animal studies relate to each other -- and issue the call for further research to fill in these gaps.
The reviewed studies suggest that both aerobic exercise and strength training can have significant positive effects on brain health and function, but more research is needed to better elucidate these effects.
"It is increasingly prevalent in the print media, television, and the Internet to be bombarded with advertisements for products and programs to enhance mental and physical health in a relatively painless fashion through miracle elixirs, computer-based training, or gaming programs, or brief exercise programs," the authors say. "Although there is little convincing scientific evidence for such claims, there have been some promising developments in the scientific literature with regard to physical activity and exercise effects on cognitive and brain health."