data collected by Bori et al. showed that long-term physical
activity led to increased anti-oxidant levels that allowed for
protection against oxidative stress within the brains of aging
rats. The study also noted that physical activity enhanced PGC-1
levels, which enhanced cell regulation and mitochondrial function
and led to the inhibition of the neurodegenerative processes.
Regular Exercise Improves Cognitive Function and Decreases Oxidative Damage in Rat Brain
The research of Radak et al. (2001) focused on trying to assess whether regular swimming in rats induced changes in the oxidative stress and brain function. They used twelve, 4-week old (young) and twelve, 14 month old (middle aged) Wistar rats and randomly assigned show more content
It specifically focuses on two strategies: the role of physical exercise and Vitamin E in overcoming oxidative damage in normal aging of the brain. However, for the purposes of this research synthesis, I will only focus on the effect of exercise on oxidative damage in the normal aging of the rat and human brains.
Exercise is reported to up-regulate protein synthesis, which in turn can improve cellular ability to remove damaged protein by free radicals. Rats exposed to physical environments consisting aerobic activities exhibit significant increases in cortical thickness, cortical weight, and AChE levels. These changes then thus improved brain function in both rats and humans. Physical activity also stimulates further expression of nerve growth factors (NGF) in the hippocampus.
Devi (2012) reported that aerobic activities such as swimming and treadmill exercises significantly reduced oxidative stress in the aging brain and thus led to an improved cognitive function. She reported that swimming is effective in up-regulating the antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), in the cortex of older animals, which helps in improving show more content
The study by Bori et al. concluded from the data they obtained that there is a positive correlation between long-term aerobic physical activity and oxidative stress. Through their rat models, they identified that with continuous long-term physical activity, there is in fact a decline in the ROS accumulation in the brains of aging rats, along with an increase in anti-oxidant enzymes within the hippocampus region of their brains. These results are in accordance with the mini-review by Asha Devi whom also concluded that aerobic exercise enhances brain activity by increasing capillarization and decreasing oxidative damage which thus leads to improved brain function in older rats. Further, she also observed that physical activity increased the number of active neurons in the hippocampus of the older rat brains thus leading to further improved brain function. Thus, both studies concluded that aerobic physical training such as swimming and treadmill running can in fact be beneficial in regulating oxidative stress and delaying the onset of neural degeneration in older rats.
The data presented in the study by Radak et al., indicates that there is strong correlation between exercise training and aging brain function, which is also in accordance with the data presented
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