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TIMS. Acta
2017, vol. 11, iss. 2, pp. 111-120
article language: Serbian
document type: Review Paper

Creative Commons License 4.0
The influence of physical exercise on improvement of cognitive functions
aUniversity EDUCONS, Faculty of Sport and Tourism, Novi Sad
bUniversity of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy



This paper reviews contemporary studies on the influence of physical exercise on human cognitive functioning. One of the aims of the interdisciplinary neuroscience that connects psychology, medicine and sport, is in discovering the mechanisms by which physical exercise might improve cognitive functioning across the lifespan, especially in the old age, when cognitive efficiency naturally decreases. Studies have shown that physical exercise produces cognitive benefit over the lifetime, both directly, through physiological mechanisms and structural brain changes, and indirectly, through mood improvement and stress reduction. However, studies have shown that the effects of physical exercise depend on the exercise intensity - while moderate physical activity has a positive impact on the cognitive functioning, the high-intensity exercise shows the reversed effect. Also, studies have suggested that the effect of physical exercise on cognitive functioning depends on the type of physical activity. Overall, studies have demonstrated that physical exercise may produce positive effects on different cognitive processes, but still have not provided a clear mechanism underlying this influence. Also, existing studies have not revealed to what extent the various physical activities differ in their effects and whether such effects are specific or potentially beneficial for cognitive functioning in general.



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