Brain Health and Exercise in Older Adults

Gregory, Michael A. MHK1,2; Gill, Dawn P. PhD2,3; Petrella, Robert J. MD, PhD, FACSM, FCFP2,4,5

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829a74fd
Exercise is Medicine: Section Articles

Identifying feasible and effective interventions aimed at mitigating the effects of cognitive decline in older adults is currently a high priority for researchers, clinicians, and policy makers. Evidence suggests that exercise and cognitive training benefit cognitive health in older adults; however, a preferred modality has to be endorsed yet by the scientific community. The purpose of this review is to discuss and critically examine the current state of knowledge concerning the effects of aerobic, resistance, cognitive, and novel dual-task exercise training interventions for the preservation or improvement of cognitive health in older adults. A review of the literature suggests that the potential exists for multiple exercise modalities to improve cognitive functioning in older adults. Nonetheless current limitations within the field need to be addressed prior to providing definitive recommendations concerning which exercise modality is most effective at improving or maintaining cognitive health in aging.

1Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; 2Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Research Centre, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada; 3School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 4School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; and 5Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Address for correspondence: Robert J. Petrella, MD, PhD, FACSM, FCFP, Parkwood Hospital, Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Research Centre, Lawson Health Research Institute, B-3002, 801 Commissioners Rd E., London, Ontario, Canada N6C 5J1; E-mail: petrella@uwo.ca.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Sports Medicine.