Exercise and cognition in aging

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Healthy aging is associated with a multitude of brain changes that often result in mild reductions in cognitive skills, spanning processing speed, memory, visuospatial skills, and executive functioning. However, the rate and extent of age-related brain and cognitive decline vary significantly across people, which can be attributed to a variety of health, lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors. In particular, a substantial body of research has highlighted exercise as a key modifiable protective factor to support brain health and cognition in aging. In this chapter, we discuss the current evidence surrounding the benefits of exercise programs for cognitive health in aging, focusing on the specific cognitive processes and neurobiological mechanisms influenced by exercise. We include a discussion of questions that remain about the optimal exercise parameters for the promotion of brain health in this population. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for the safe prescription of exercise to support cognition in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExercise to Prevent and Manage Chronic Disease Across the Lifespan
EditorsJack Feehan, Nicholas Tripodi, Vasso Apostolopoulos
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780323898430
ISBN (Print)9780323885768
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Aging
  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • Exercise
  • Physical activity

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