Exercise and the Brain (S2E20) / by Mandy Wintink

In this episode (part of the Conversations with Neuroscience Students Series), we dive into the world of health and wellness and how exercise affects the brain. We explore concepts such as CBR (cerebral blood flow) and BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) to see how these are affected by exercise. We also talk about how exercise can affect different demographics and what significance it holds for illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We also share some of personal experiences with exercise and how it affects us and our studies.


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Godman, H. (2018, April 5). Reguar Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking Skill. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

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Guiney, H., Lucas, S. J., Cotter, J. D., & Machado, L. (2015). Evidence cerebral blood-flow regulation mediates exercise–cognition links in healthy young adults. Neuropsychology, 29(1), 1–9. https://doi-org.ezproxy.humber.ca/10.1037/neu0000124 http://ezproxy.humber.ca/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,url&db=pdh&AN=2014-30823-001&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Hayes, S. M., Hayes, J. P., Cadden, M., & Verfaellie, M. (2013). A review of cardiorespiratory fitness-related neuroplasticity in the aging brain. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709413/.

Hillman, C. H., Erickson, K. I., & Kramer, A. F. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: Exercise effects on brain and cognition. Perspectives: Science and Society, 9.

Hunt, L. (2018, May 15). Biking for Your Brain: The Neurology of Cycling . Retrieved from https://www.duvine.com/blog/brain-biking-the-neurology-of-cycling/

Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., & Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Frontiers in Aging Neuropsychology. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00509/full.

Panza, G. A. , Taylor, B. A. , Johnson, B. T. , MacDonald, H. V. , Zaleski, A. L. , Thompson, P. D. & Pescatello, L. S. (2017). Exercise And Cognition Among Individuals At Risk For Or Diagnosed With Alzheimer’S Disease. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49(5S), 216. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000517437.43007.f9. http://tinyurl.com/y9uhw9s4

Salzman, A. (2017, August 14). Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity - Creating New Neural Pathways. Retrieved from https://www.ausmed.com/articles/exercise-induced-neuroplasticity/

Suzui, W., Dr. (2017). The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/wendy_suzuki_the_brain_changing_benefits_of_exercise/up next?language=en 

Additional Resources

University of California - Davis Health System. (2016, February 25). This is your brain on exercise: Vigorous exercise boosts critical neurotransmitters, may help restore mental health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 23, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160225101241.htm 

Exercise-Induced Neuroplasticity - Creating New Neural Pathways: https://www.ausmed.com/articles/exercise-induced-neuroplasticity/

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