The past two decades have uncovered the beneficial relation of physical activity and other health behaviors on brain and cognition, with the majority of data emerging from older adult populations. More recently, a similar research thread has emerged in school-aged children, which offers insight into the relation of physical activity to scholastic performance, providing a real-world application of the benefits observed in the laboratory. Technological advances have similarly furthered our understanding of physical activity effects on cognitive and brain health. Given this emerging body of work, this manuscript reviews the basic findings within the field, but more importantly suggests triggers or signals from the emerging literature that will shape the field in the near future. The overall goal of this body of research is to increase cognitive and brain health to promote effective functioning of individuals across the lifespan.
Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson and Bradley D. Hatfield
Jessie N. Stapleton, Diane E. Mack and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis
The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the magnitude of the relationship between social influence and both PA behavior and PA-related social cognitions among samples of adults with physical disabilities, including those with chronic conditions that can lead to a physical disability. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify studies involving adults with physical disability, a measure of social influence, and a measure of PA behavior or PA-related social cognitions. A total of 27 studies with 4,768 participants yielded 47 effect sizes to be included for meta-analysis. Significant, small- to medium-sized relationships were identified between social influence and PA behavior, and social influence and PA-related social cognitions. These relationships suggest that social factors positively associate with physical-activity-related social cognitions and should be targeted when promoting physical activity behavior change among adults with a physical disability.
Jennifer L. Etnier
In developing a senior lecture for the 2014 national meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, I had the opportunity to reflect upon a career of research and to focus on three interesting questions that my colleagues and I have attempted to address. These questions have led to several studies that all revolve around identifying ways to increase the effects of exercise on cognitive performance. In particular, the questions examine the possibility of increasing effects by focusing on particular populations (e.g., older adults, children) and by increasing our understanding of dose-response relationships between exercise parameters (e.g., intensity, duration) and cognitive outcomes. I present empirical evidence relative to each of these questions and provide directions for future research on physical activity and cognitive functioning.
Laura Chaddock, Michelle W. Voss and Arthur F. Kramer
Our increasingly inactive lifestyle is detrimental to physical and cognitive health. This review focuses on the beneficial relation of physical activity and aerobic fitness to the brain and cognitive health in a youth and elderly population to highlight the need to change this pattern. In children, increased physical activity and higher levels of aerobic fitness have been associated with superior academic achievement and cognitive processes. Differences in brain volumes and brain function of higher-fit and lower-fit peers are potential mechanisms underlying the performance differences in cognitive challenges. We hope that this research will encourage modifications in educational policies that will increase physical activity during the school day. In addition, older adults who participate in physical activity show higher performance on a variety of cognitive tasks, coupled with less risk of cognitive impairment. The cognitive enhancements are in part driven by less age-related brain tissue loss and increases in the efficiency of brain function. Given the increasing aging population and threat of dementia, research about the plasticity of the elderly active brain has important public health implications. Collectively, the data support that participation in physical activity could enhance daily functioning, learning, achievement, and brain health in children and the elderly.
Jennifer J. Heisz and Ana Kovacevic
Age-related changes in the brain can compromise cognitive function. However, in some cases, the brain is able to functionally reorganize to compensate for some of this loss. The present paper reviews the benefits of exercise on executive functions in older adults and discusses a potential mechanism through which exercise may change the way the brain processes information for better cognitive outcomes. Specifically, older adults who are more physically active demonstrate a shift toward local neural processing that is associated with better executive functions. We discuss the use of neural complexity as a sensitive measure of the neural network plasticity that is enhanced through exercise. We conclude by highlighting the future work needed to improve exercise prescriptions that help older adults maintain their cognitive and physical functions for longer into their lifespan.
David I. Anderson
“Motor Development as Foundation and Future for Developmental Psychology” ( Thelen, 2000a ). That agenda included 6 themes: multimodal perception and action, formal models and robotics, embodied cognition, neural bases of motor skill development, learning and plasticity, and cultural and individual
Kenneth E. Powell and Steven N. Blair
of the bladder, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach. Regular MVPA reduces the risk of dementia, and both regular and single bouts of MVPA improve cognition across the age spectrum, including improvements in executive function, a set of cognitive operations enabling the self
Mary E. Rudisill
For 30 years I have been interested in achievement motivation and factors that influence children’s motivation to move and learn to move. This work has been grounded in achievement goal theory, which explains what motivates individuals by how success is perceived and competence is valued (Nicholls, 1989). According to this theory, behavioral outcomes are related to goal-oriented behaviors described as task (e.g., competence and success are self-referenced) or ego (e.g., competence and success are based on the reference of others). A task-oriented goal perspective has been associated with increased enjoyment and intrinsic motivation inmovement-related activities such as sport and physical activity. Achievement goal theory also proposes that environments can be structured to emphasize factors that determine one’s goal involvement and subsequent cognitions, affect, and behaviors. In this review, I discuss mastery motivational climates and the research we have conducted related to this topic over the years.
Guillaume Lamotte, Elizabeth Skender, Miriam R. Rafferty, Fabian J. David, Steve Sadowsky and Daniel M. Corcos
This paper reviews the therapeutically beneficial effects of progressive resistance exercise training (PRET) on motor and nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD).
First, we perform a systematic review of the literature on the effects of PRET on motor signs of PD, functional outcomes, quality of life, and patient perceived improvement, strength, and cognition in PD. Second, we perform a meta-analysis on the motor section of the UPDRS. Finally, we discuss the results of our review and we identify current knowledge gaps regarding PRET in PD.
This systematic review synthesizes evidence that PRET can improve strength and motor signs of Parkinsonism in PD and may also be beneficial for physical function in individuals with PD. Further research is needed to explore the effects of PRET on nonmotor symptoms such as depression, cognitive impairment, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and quality of life in individuals with PD.
Bradley D. Hatfield
The relevance of kinesiology to the major issues of public health facing the nation is increasing with time. Of great importance is the area of exercise neuroscience in which remarkable developments have occurred in the past 35 years. The primary investigative efforts to date have been devoted to the impact of exercise on normal brain aging and recent efforts have also focused on the neurocognitive benefit to brain development in children. However, little work has been conducted in those with neurological disorders. The literature includes a number of animal studies that offer biological plausibility for the positive influence of exercise observed on brain structure and cognition in normal human subjects and, collectively, these studies provide a foundation on which to examine the role of exercise treatment in some of the major brain disorders that afflict adults and children today. These include the dementias, stroke, traumatic brain disorder (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attentional deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A role for exercise in building resilience to such disorders is discussed here that may assist in reducing the financial and emotional burden of these affictions.