Some evidence shows that aerobic training can attenuate the aging effects on the brain structures and functions.
However, the strength exercise effects are poorly discussed. Thus, in the present study, the effects of strength training on
the brain in elderly people and Alzheimer`s disease (AD) patients were revised. Furthermore, it a biological explanation
relating to strength training effects on the brain is proposed. Brain atrophy can be related to neurotransmission
dysfunction, like oxidative stress, that generates mitochondrial damage and reduced brain metabolism. Another
mechanism is related to amyloid deposition and amyloid tangles, that can be related to reductions on insulin-like growth
factor I concentrations. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor also presents reduction during aging process and AD. These
neuronal dysfunctions are also related to cerebral blood flow decline that influence brain metabolism. All of these
alterations contribute to cognitive impairment and AD. After a long period of strength training, the oxidative stress can be
reduced, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and insulin-like growth factor I serum concentrations enhance, and the
cognitive performance improves. Considering these results, we can infer that strength training can be related to increased
neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and, consequently, counteracts aging effects on the brain. The effect of strength training as
an additional treatment of AD needs further investigation.
Keywords: Brain atrophy, elderly, Alzheimer`s disease, neurogenesis, neuronal, neuroplasticity, older, and resistive exercise.
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