Exercise and the Aging Brain

Publish Date: 1 April 2013
Author(s): Arthur F. Kramer, PhD

Abstract:

In 2008, the first comprehensive guidelines on physical activity based on extensive review of the scientific data were published by the US government. Dr. Kramer’s comments were organized around both animal and human research on physical activity and exercise. He described observational and randomized controlled human studies that have established the relationship between physical activity and cognitive maintenance in normal adults or in adults diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Kramer also cited more recent studies that have reported similar cognitive and brain benefits, as a function of exercise and physical activity, for children. Such findings are important to the understanding of lifestyle choices on cognitive and brain development as well as the impact of the increasing sedentary nature and levels of obesity observed for children in today’s society. However, he said, many important questions remain unanswered, such as, can a combination of nutrition and exercise bestow greater benefits to healthy minds and brains than either of these factors alone?
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Author Bios

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Arthur F. Kramer, Phd

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Beckman Institute, USA
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