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Aerobic Exercise May Improve Cognition

Aerobic Exercise May Improve Cognition Emerging research suggests aerobic exercise increases the size of critical brain structures and improves cognition in children and older adults.

The discovery that aerobic exercise is therapeutic for cognitive health, in addition to cardiovascular fitness and body composition, was the subject of a recent session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Art Kramer, a University of Illinois psychology professor, discussed the role of physical fitness on cognition, explaining that “increased physical activity has direct, and relatively rapid effects on cognition and brain health.”

“Such results have now been reported, over the course of several decades, in animal studies of physical activity.”

Studies in humans, many conducted in Kramer’s lab, also show that regular exercise, such as walking three times per week, also increases brain power. The new findings are important because “populations throughout the industrialized world are becoming increasing sedentary as a result of the changing nature of work and leisure activities,” Kramer said.

“As a result of these societal changes, increases in diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers are increasing. Physical activity serves to reduce susceptibility to these diseases.”

In his presentation, Kramer showed results from his lab that demonstrated that older adults who participate in fitness training and physical activity, benefit from significant improvements in their brain structure and function.

Kramer discussed how emerging scientific tools include both behavioral measures and non-invasive neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI, event-related brain potential, and event-related optical signals to assess cognition.

Source: University of Illinois

Aerobic Exercise May Improve Cognition

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Aerobic Exercise May Improve Cognition. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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