The relationship between physical activity and mental health has been widely investigated, and several hypotheses have been formulated about it. Specifically, during the aging process, physical exercise might represent a potential adjunctive treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders and cognitive impairment, helping delay the onset of neurodegenerative processes. Even though exercise itself might act as a stressor, it has been demonstrated that it reduces the harmful effects of other stressors when performed at moderate intensities. Neurotransmitter release, neurotrophic factor and neurogenesis, and cerebral blood flow alteration are some of the concepts involved. In this review, the potential effects of exercise on the aging process and on mental health are discussed, concerning some of the recent findings on animal and human research. The overwhelming evidence present in the literature today suggests that exercise ensures successful brain functioning.
© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Physical activity
- Major depression
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease, elderly
- Hillman CH, Erickson KI, Kramer AF: Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature 2008;9:58–65.
- Kramer AF, Colcombe SJ, McAuley E, et al: Fitness, aging and neurocognitive function. Neurobiol Aging 2005;26(suppl):S124–S127.
- Stein D, Collins M, Daniels W, et al: Mind and Muscle: the cognitive-affective neuroscience of exercise. CNS Spectrum 2007;12:19–22.
- Vaynman S, Gomez-Pinilla F: Revenge of the ‘sit’: how lifestyle impacts neuronal and cognitive health through molecular systems that interface energy metabolism with neuronal plasticity. J Neurosci Res 2006;84:699–715.
- Duman R: Neurotrophic factors and regulation of mood: role of exercise, diet and metabolism. Neurobiol Aging 2005;26(suppl):S88–S93.
- Dishman RK, Berthoud HR, Booth FW, et al: Neurobiology of exercises. Obesity 2006;14:345–356.
- Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Doraiswamy MP, et al: Exercise and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Psychosom Med 2007;69:587–596.
- Rolland Y, Pillard F, Klapouszczak A, et al: Exercise program for nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease: a 1-year randomized, controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 2007;55:158–165.
- Hirsch M, Toole T, Maitland C, et al: The effects of balance training and high-intensity resistance training on persons with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Phys Med Rehabil 2003;84:1109–1117.
- Colcombe SJ, Erickson SI, Scalf PE, et al: Aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans. J Gerontol Med Sci 2006;61:1166–1170.
- Kramer AF, Erickson SI: Effects of physical activity on cognition, well-being, and brain: humans interventions. Alzheimers Dement 2007;3:S45–S51.
- Blay S, Andreoli S, Fillenbaum G, et al: Depression morbidity in later life: prevalence and correlates in a developing country. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2007;15:790–799.
- Dunn A, Trivedi M, O’Neal H: Physical activity dose-response effects on outcomes of depression and anxiety. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001;33:S587–S597.
- Stathopoulou G, Powers M, Berry A, et al: Exercise interventions for mental health: a quantitative and qualitative review. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 2006;13:180–193.
- Frazer CJ, Christensen H, Griffiths KM: Effectiveness of treatments for depression in older people. Med J Aust 2005;182:627–632.
- Craft L, Perna F: The benefits of exercise for the clinically depressed. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2004;6:104–111.
- Moraes H, Deslandes A, Ferreira C, et al: O exercício físico no tratamento da depressão em idosos: revisão. Rev Psiquiatr RS 2007;29:70–79.
- Lampinen P, Heikkinen E: Reduced mobility and physical activity as predictors of depressive symptoms among community-dwelling older adults: an eight-year follow-up study. Aging Clin Exp Res 2003;15:205–211.
- Strawbridge WJ, Deleger S, Roberts RE, et al: Physical activity reduces the risk of subsequent depression for older adults. Am J Epidemiol 2002;156:328–334.
- Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Moore KA, et al: Effects of exercise training on older patients with major depression. Arch Intem Med 1999;159:2349–2356.
- Babyak M, Blumenthal JA, Herman S, et al: Exercise treatment for major depression: maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosom Med 2000;62:633–638.
- Herman S, Blumenthal JA, Babyak M, et al: Exercise therapy for depression in middle-aged and older adults: predictors of early dropout and treatment failure. Health Psychol 2002;21:553–563.
- Mather AS, Rodriguez C, Guthrie MF, et al: Effects of exercise on depressive symptoms in older adults with poorly responsive depressive disorder: randomized controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2002;180:411–415.
- Singh NA, Clements KM, Fiatarone MA: A randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in depressed elders. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 1997;52:M27–M35.
- Singh N, Clements K, Singh M: The efficacy of exercise as a long-term antidepressant in elderly subjects: a randomized, controlled trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56:M497–M504.
- Singh N, Stavrinos TM, Scarbek Y, et al: A randomized controlled trial of high versus low intensity weight training versus general practitioner care for clinical depression in older adults. J Gerontol 2005;6:768–776.
- Dunn A, Trivedi M, Kampert J, et al: Exercise treatment for depression efficacy and dose response. Am J Prev Med 2005;28:1–8.
- Wolf S, Kronenberg G, Lehmann K, et al: Cognitive and physical activity differently modulate disease progression in the amyloid precursor protein-23 model of Alzheimer’s disease. Biol Psychiatry 2006;60:1314–1323.
- Pope S, Shue V, Beck C: Will a healthy lifestyle help prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Annu Rev Public Health 2003;24:111–132.
- Colcombe S, Kramer AF: Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults: a meta-analytic study. Psychol Sci 2003;14:125–130.
- Teri L, Gibbons LE, McCurry SM, et al: Exercise plus behavioral management in patients with Alzheimer disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2003;290:2015–2022.
- Arcoverde C, Deslandes A, Rangel A, et al: Role of physical activity on the maintenance of cognition and activities of daily living in elderly with Alzheimer’s disease. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2008;66:323–327.
- Christofoletti G, Oliani M, Gobbi S, et al: Effects of motor intervention in elderly patients with dementia. An analysis of randomized controlled trials. Top Geriatr Rehabil 2007;23:149–154.
- Williams CL, Tappen RM: Effect of exercise on mood in nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2007;22:389–397.
- Williams CL, Tappen RM: Exercise training for depressed older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Aging Ment Health 2008;12:72–80.
- Arkin SM: Student-led exercise sessions yield significant fitness gains for Alzheimer’s patients. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2003;18:159–170.
- Arkin S: Language-enriched exercise plus socialization slows cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2007;22:62–77.
- Heyn P: The effect of a multisensory exercise program on engagement, behavior, and selected physiological indexes in persons with dementia. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen 2003;18:247–251.
- Palleschi L, Vetta F, de Cennaro E, et al: Effect of aerobic training on the cognitive performance of elderly patients with senile dementia of Alzheimer type. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 1996;22(suppl 1):47–50.
- Mahendra N, Arkin SM: Exercise and volunteer work: contexts for AD language and memory interventions. Semin Speech Lang 2004;25:151–167.
- Hof P, Mobbs C: Functional Neurobiology of Aging. New York, Academic Press, 2001.
- Cakit BD, Saracoglu M, Genc H, et al: The effects of incremental speed-dependent treadmill training on postural instability and fear of falling in Parkinson’s disease. Clin Rehabil 2007;21:698–705.
- Herman T, Giladi N, Gruendlinger L, et al: Six weeks of intensive treadmill training improves gait and quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s disease: a pilot study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2007;88:1154–1158.
- Burini D, Farabollini B, Iacucci S, et al: A randomised controlled cross-over trial of aerobic training versus Qigong in advanced Parkinson’s disease. Eura Medicophys 2006;42:231–238.
- Miyai I, Fujimoto Y, Ueda Y, et al: Treadmill training with body weight support: its effect on Parkinson’s disease. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2000;81:849–852.
- Bergen JL, Toole T, Elliott RG 3rd, et al: Aerobic exercise intervention improves aerobic capacity and movement initiation in Parkinson’s disease patients. NeuroRehabilitation 2002;17:161–168.
- Nieuwboer A, Kwakkel G, Rochester L, et al: Cueing training in the home improves gait-related mobility in Parkinson’s disease: the RESCUE trial. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2007;78:134–140.
- Baatile J, Langbein WE, Weaver F, et al: Effect of exercise on perceived quality of life of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. J Rehabil Res Dev 2000;37:529–534.
- Reuter I, Engelhardt M, Stecker K, et al: Therapeutic value of exercise training in Parkinson’s disease. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31:1544–1549.
- Schenkman M, Cutson TM, Kuchibhatla M, et al: Exercise to improve spinal flexibility and function for people with Parkinson’s disease: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 1998;46:1207–1216.
- Comella CL, Stebbins GT, Brown-Toms N, et al: Physical therapy and Parkinson’s disease: a controlled clinical trial. Neurology 1994;44:376–378.
- Lun V, Pullan N, Labelle N, et al: Comparison of the effects of a self-supervised home exercise program with a physiotherapist-supervised exercise program on the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 2005;20:971–975.
- Ashburn A, Fazakarley L, Ballinger C, et al: A randomised controlled trial of a home based exercise programme to reduce the risk of falling among people with Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2007;78:678–684.
- Protas EJ, Mitchell K, Williams A, et al: Gait and step training to reduce falls in Parkinson’s disease. NeuroRehabilitation 2005;20:183–190.
- De Paula F, Teixeira-Salmela LF, Faria CD, et al: Impact of an exercise program on physical, emotional, and social aspects of quality of life of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 2006;21:1073–1077.
- Dibble LE, Hale TF, Marcus RL, et al: High-intensity resistance training amplifies muscle hypertrophy and functional gains in persons with Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 2006;21:1444–1452.
- Thacker EL, Chen H, Patel AV, et al: Recreational physical activity and risk of Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 2008;23:69–74.
- Garber CE, Friedman JH: Effects of fatigue on physical activity and function in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Neurology 2003;60:1119–1124.
- Goede CJ, Keus SH, Kwakkel G, et al: The effects of physical therapy in Parkinson’s disease: a research synthesis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001;82:509–515.
- Stebbing AR: Hormesis: the stimulation of growth by low levels of inhibitors. Sci Total Environ 1982;22:213–234.
- Radak Z, Chung HY, Goto S: Exercise and hormesis: oxidative stress-related adaptation for successful aging. Biogerontology 2005;6:71–75.
- Radak Z, Chung HY, Koltai E, et al: Exercise, oxidative stress and hormesis. Ageing Res Rev 2008;7:34–42.
- Zaldivar F, Wang-Rodriguez J, Nemet D, et al: Constitutive pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine and growth factor response to exercise in leukocytes. J Appl Physiol 2006;100:1124–1133.
- Lie D, Song H, Colamarino S, et al: Neurogenesis in the adult brain: new strategies for central nervous system diseases. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol 2004;44:399–421.
- Cotman CW, Berchtold NC, Christie LA: Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation. Trends Neurosci 2007;30:464–472.
- Russo-Neustadt A, Beard RC, Cotman CW: Exercise, antidepressant medications, and enhanced brain derived neurotrophic factor expression. Neuropsychopharmacology 1999;21:679–682.
- Winter B, Breitenstein C, Mooren FC, et al: High impact running improves learning. Neurobiol Learn Mem 2007;87:597–609.
- Landi F, Capoluongo E, Russo A, et al: Free insulin-like growth factor-I and cognitive function in older persons living in community. Growth Horm IGF Res 2007;17:58–66.
- Cassilhas RC, Viana VA, Grassmann V, et al: The impact of resistance exercise on the cognitive function of the elderly. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:1401–1407.
- Nottebohm F: Why are some neurons replaced in adult brain? J Neurosci 2002;22:624–628.
- Pereira A, Huddleston D, Brickman A, et al: An in vivo correlate of exercise-induced neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007;104:5638–5643.
- Kempermann G: Regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis – implications for novel theories of major depression. Bipolar Disord 2002;4:17–33.
- Van Praag H, Kempermann G, Gage FH: Running increases cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the adult mouse dentate gyrus. Nat Neurosci 1999;2:266–270.
- Sarbadhikari SN, Saha AK: Moderate exercise and chronic stress produce counteractive effects on different areas of the brain by acting through various neurotransmitter receptor subtypes: a hypothesis. Theor Biol Med Model 2006;3:33.
- Sparling PB, Giuffrida A, Piomelli D, et al: Exercise activates the endocannabinoid system. Neuroreport 2003;14:2209–2211.
- Dietrich A, McDaniel WF: Endocannabinoids and exercise. Br J Sports Med 2004;38:536–541.
- Boecker H, Sprenger T, Spilker ME, et al: The runner’s high: opioidergic mechanisms in the human brain. Cereb Cortex 2008;18:2523–2531.
- Critchley HD, Corfield DR, Chandler MP, et al: Cerebral correlates of autonomic cardiovascular arousal: a functional neuroimaging investigation in humans. J Physiol 2000;523:259–270.
- Forrester T: Extracellular nucleotides in exercise: possible effect on brain metabolism. Physiologist 1979;22:50–58.
- Gertz K, Priller J, Kronenberg G, et al: Physical activity improves long-term stroke outcome via endothelial nitric oxide synthase-dependent augmentation of neovascularization and cerebral blood flow. Circ Res 2006;99:1132–1140.
Andréa Camaz Deslandes
Center for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rua Sylvio da Rocha Pollis 300, Casa 02
Recreio dos Bandeirantes 22793.395, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (Brazil)
Tel. +55 21 7896 9778, Fax +55 21 3328 5020, E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Received: October 6, 2008
Accepted after revision: February 22, 2009
Published online: June 10, 2009
Number of Print Pages : 8
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 80
Neuropsychobiology (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research in Biological Psychiatry, Pharmacopsychiatry, Biological Psychology/Pharmacopsychology and Pharmacoelectroencephalography)
Vol. 59, No. 4, Year 2009 (Cover Date: August 2009)
Journal Editor: Strik W. (Bern)
ISSN: 0302-282X (Print), eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/NPS
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.