John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


The benefits of physical activities on cognitive and mental health in healthy and pathological aging Volume 16, issue 2, Juin 2018


1 Laboratoire Mémoire & Cognition, Institut de psychologie et Inserm UMR 894, Centre de psychiatrie et neurosciences, Université Paris Descartes, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, France
2 Département de réadaptation, Université Laval, Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et intégration sociale, Québec, Canada
* Tirés à part

Aging is associated with a decreased efficiency of different cognitive functions as well as in the perceptive, physical and physiological changes. The age-related cognitive decline concerns mainly attention, executive control and episodic memory. Some factors such as being physically active protect against the age-related decline. This review will discuss how physical activity can positively affect the cognitive efficiency and mental health of older healthy individuals, and possibly reduces the risk of progression into dementia, and depression. Underlying neurophysiological mechanisms play an important role for improving attention and episodic memory, which are the most sensitive to the effects of aging. We also present recommendations for the management of physical activity for the prevention of cognitive deficits, and the reduction of depressive symptoms in older persons. Given the benefits of physical activity for the prevention of neurodegenerative disease and the improvement of the well-being, it appears to be an important low cost therapeutic approach that should be integrated into clinical practice.