Exercise Enhancement of Cognitive Reserve: Promotion of Mental Health in Older Age?



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The concept of cognitive reserve is one that quite recently has been discussed in clinical neuroscience literature. Cognitive reserve posits that there is an established amount of supply in the brain that compensates for brain functions during normal age-related decline or when there is pathology present. Many factors contribute to the growth of reserve throughout an individual’s life, but one that is seen to be significantly beneficial, even in older adulthood, is aerobic exercise. The focus of this paper is on the promotion of healthy aging through exercise enhancement of cognitive reserve to assist the brain through the normal process of aging. In addition, one of the most prevalent mental illnesses afflicting older adults is depression. Not only is it more prevalent in older adults, but because it manifests differently in older adults, it is more detrimental to overall brain health. It is hypothesized that exercise enhances cognitive reserve, which may prevent or minimize negative aging effects on the brain such as depression, leading an individual to age without decline in quality of life.



Exercise, Aerobic exercise, Cognitive reserve, Passive reserve, Depression, Mental health, Older adults, Hippocampus, Clinical neuroscience