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Brain Res. 2013 Nov 20;1539:95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Physical activity and the brain: a review of this dynamic, bi-directional relationship.

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Department of Exercise Science, Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, KY 40205, USA. Electronic address:


The brain plays a major role in regulating physical activity behavior and exercise performance. Regular physical activity may also play a key role in the prevention and treatment of various neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression, and cognitive function. This implies that not only does the brain (or the nervous system) regulate aspects of physical activity, but also that physical activity may potentially influence brain-related function and outcomes. This review details this bi-directional relationship and addresses its implications for improving physical activity, exercise performance, and brain-related function and outcomes.


Alzheimer's disease; Central Governor Model; Cognitive function; Depression; Endocrine system; Executive function; Exercise; Fatigue; Health; Nervous system; Parkinson's disease

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