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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte
On-line version ISSN 1806-9940
ANTUNES, Hanna K.M. et al. Reviewing on physical exercise and the cognitive function. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2006, vol.12, n.2, pp. 108-114. ISSN 1806-9940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-86922006000200011.
Exercise and physical training are known as promoters of several alterations, and among them, cardiorespiratory benefits, increase in the mineral bone density and decrease in the risk for chronic-degenerative diseases. Recently, another aspect has become notorious: an improvement in the cognitive function. Although it is very controversial, several studies have shown that physical exercises improve and protect the cerebral function, suggesting that physically active individuals present lower risk to develop mental disorders compared to sedentary individuals. This demonstrates that participating in physical exercise programs exerts benefits in the physical and psychological spheres, and it is probable that physically active individuals have a faster cognitive processing. Although the cognitive benefits of the physically active life-style seem to be related to the level of the regular physical activities, that is, exercises performed along the whole lifetime, suggesting a "cognitive reserve", it is never too late to start a physical exercise program. Thus, using physical exercises as an alternative to achieve an improvement in the cognitive function seems to be a aim to be attained mainly due to its applicability, since it is a relatively less expensive method that can be used by the major part of the population. Thus, the purpose of the present review is to discuss the associative aspects between physical exercises and the cognitive function, thus allowing to reflect on its use as an alternative and supportive element.
Keywords : Cognitive function; Physical exercise; Elder people; Memory.