Effects of Exercise on Cognition across the Lifespan
Exercise & Memory Laboratory, Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi , University, MS 38677, USA
Academic Editor: Paul D. Loprinzi
Special Issue: Research of Exercise and Cognitive Function
Received: April 12, 2020 | Accepted: April 14, 2020 | Published: April 15, 2020
OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2020, Volume 5, Issue 2, doi:10.21926/obm.icm.2002020
Recommended citation: Vogelgesang L, Moore D, Loprinzi PD. Effects of Exercise on Cognition across the Lifespan. OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine 2020; 5(2): 020; doi:10.21926/obm.icm.2002020.
© 2020 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is correctly cited.
Acute exercise is associated with improvements in cognition across varying age groups [4,6]. Cognitive function is of critical importance in everyday life during all life stages. Therefore, it is worthwhile to identify factors that enhance cognition. The present Special Issue in OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine published 11 articles related to the effects of exercise on cognitive function (Table 1). These studies assessed a variety of cognitive outcomes, including, for example, cognitive decline, episodic and semantic memory, various aspects of forgetting, and auditory and visual memory. Several populations were studied, such as elderly individuals [2,3,4], young adults [1,5,11], and children and adolescents . Moreover, the applied exercise protocols varied, including, for example, single bouts of moderate exercise [7,11], chronic exercise training , and meditation .
This collective body of work revealed several interesting findings. For example, several papers published in this Special Issue provided insight into age as a potential factor influencing the exercise-cognition relationship. As an example, James et al.  demonstrated that chronic exercise may reduce cognitive decline in elderly individuals. Findings by Oberste et al.  suggest that a single bout of exercise enhances cognitive flexibility in healthy young adults. Other related research has also shown improvements in episodic and semantic memory  as well as potential effects of exercise on directed forgetting  in young adults. Relatedly, Williams et al.  provided evidence for positive effects of exercise on cognitive functioning in children and adolescents. Moreover, Williams et al.  observed that moderate intensity exercise of about 30 min had positive effects on cognitive function in children, while 10-30 min of moderate to high intensity exercise appeared to be most beneficial for adolescents. Their data also suggest that beneficial effects last for about 45 min post exercise and may be more pronounced in individuals with higher physical fitness levels. Recently, Lineweaver et al.  suggested that gender may influence the effect of exercise on cognition. Lastly, this Special Issue also included several papers that provide recommendations for future research, such as measuring and reporting exercise intensities and durations in studies in more detail , as well as evaluating whether the beneficial effects of exercise in relatively healthy samples also has similar effects among clinical patients.
Author L.V. prepared the initial draft of the manuscript. Author D.M. provided intellectual feedback on multiple drafts of the manuscript. Author P.L. conceptualized the structural outline of the paper and provided feedback on the manuscript.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
- Lineweaver TT, Kercood S, Morgan EB, Rampone SL, Frank CC, McLuckie SA, et al. Working memory in collegiate athletes and non-athletes: A comparison of team-sports athletes, solo-sports athletes, frequent exercisers and infrequent exercisers. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2020; 5: 14. [CrossRef]
- Koon L, Brustad R, Stellino MB. Social engagement and task complexity: Physical activity characteristics and executive function among older adults. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 18. [CrossRef]
- Deschamps T. Shedding light on a new psychology of movement and exercise. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 8. [CrossRef]
- James R, Moore AL, Carpenter DM II, Miller TM, Ledbetter C. Feasibility of a functional medicine approach to slowing clinical cognitive decline in patients over age 55: A multiple case study report. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 34. [CrossRef]
- Oberste M, Sharma S, Zimmer P. Does a single bout of aerobic exercise improve set shifting in healthy young adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 20. [CrossRef]
- Williams RA, Hatch L, Cooper SB. A review of factors affecting the acute exercise-cognition relationship in children and adolescents. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 24. [CrossRef]
- Day S, Loprinzi PD. Effect of acute moderate-intensity exercise on autobiographical episodic memory and semantic memory. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 12. [CrossRef]
- Loprinzi PD. The effects of aquatic exercise on cognitive function: Systematic review. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 9. [CrossRef]
- Davis JJJ, Schübeler F, Kozma R. Psychophysiological coherence in community dynamics – A comparative analysis between meditation and other activities. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 24.
- Loprinzi PD, Frith E, Harris F. A brief primer on learning and memory-based strategies to enhance memory function. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2019; 4: 9. [CrossRef]
- Ferguson L, Cantrelle J, Loprinzi P. Experimental effects of exercise on forgetting. OBM Integr Complement Med. 2018; 3: 034. [CrossRef]