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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2013, Article ID 657508, 8 pages
Review Article

A Review of the Effects of Physical Activity and Exercise on Cognitive and Brain Functions in Older Adults

1PERFORM Centre, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada
2Research Center, Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada
3Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
4Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
5Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Received 8 May 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: Karl Rosengren

Copyright © 2013 Louis Bherer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies supporting the notion that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate the negative impact of age on the body and the mind abound. This literature review provides an overview of important findings in this fast growing research domain. Results from cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intervention studies with healthy older adults, frail patients, and persons suffering from mild cognitive impairment and dementia are reviewed and discussed. Together these finding suggest that physical exercise is a promising nonpharmaceutical intervention to prevent age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.