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
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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 email@example.com
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)
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