Although a growing body of literature has supported the beneficial role of exercise on cognition, there is no consensus on the mechanisms underlying acute and chronic cerebral adaptations to exercise. The present review aims to present and discuss the mechanisms by which exercise affects cognitive performance. It has been speculated that the acute effects of exercise on cognitive response may be mediated by increases in cerebral blood flow and, hence, in nutrient availability, or by increases in neurotransmitter activity. It has been also postulated that chronic exercise may induce adaptations in brain structures and the synaptic plasticity, which would result in cognitive improvements. These hypotheses are discussed in light of available scientific evidence in animal models and humans.
Merege Filho, C. A. A., Alves, C. R. R., Sepúlveda, C. A., Costa, A. dos S., Lancha Junior, A. H., & Gualano, B. (2014). Influência do exercício físico na cognição: Uma atualização sobre mecanismos fisiológicos. Revista Brasileira de Medicina Do Esporte, 20(3), 237–241. https://doi.org/10.1590/1517-86922014200301930