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Exercise as a Way of Capitalizing on Neuroplasticity in Late Adulthood

Erickson, Kirk I. PhD; Oberlin, Lauren BA; Gujral, Swathi BS; Leckie, Regina L. MS; Weinstein, Andrea M. MS; Hodzic, Jennifer C. BA; Dabbagh, Asmaa MS; Whitmoyer, Patrick R. BS; Wollam, Mariegold E. BS

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: January/March 2014 - Volume 30 - Issue 1 - p 8–14
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000008
Neuroplasticity

The increasing proportion of older adults in the population is expected to lead to an increased prevalence of age-related diseases, including cognitive decline and impairment. It is imperative to find affordable and effective methods for improving cognitive and brain function throughout the life span. Research reviewed in this article suggests that physical activity and exercise have the potential for improving cognitive function and taking advantage of the capacity of the brain for plasticity in late adulthood. Promising evidence from studies examining the effect of physical activity and exercise on brain health indicates the need for further research in this area.

Department of Psychology (Dr Erickson, Mss Oberlin, Gujral, Leckie, Weinstein, Hodzic, Dabbagh, and Wollam, and Mr Whitmoyer) and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (Dr Erickson and Mss Oberlin, Gujral, Leckie, and Weinstein), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Kirk I. Erickson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 3107 Sennott Sq, 210 S. Bouquet St, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 (kiericks@pitt.edu).

Production of this article was supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01-DK095172 awarded to Dr Erickson.

All authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins