Endurance exercise as an “endogenous” neuro-enhancement strategy to facilitate motor learning

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Abstract

Endurance exercise improves cardiovascular and musculoskeletal function and may also increase the information processing capacities of the brain. Animal and human research from the past decade demonstrated widespread exercise effects on brain structure and function at the systems-, cellular-, and molecular level of brain organization. These neurobiological mechanisms may explain the well-established positive influence of exercise on performance in various behavioral domains but also its contribution to improved skill learning and neuroplasticity. With respect to the latter, only few empirical and theoretical studies are available to date. The aim of this review is (i) to summarize the existing neurobiological and behavioral evidence arguing for endurance exercise-induced improvements in motor learning and (ii) to develop hypotheses about the mechanistic link between exercise and improved learning. We identify major knowledge gaps that need to be addressed by future research projects to advance our understanding of how exercise should be organized to optimize motor learning.

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Taubert, M., Villringer, A., & Lehmann, N. (2015). Endurance exercise as an “endogenous” neuro-enhancement strategy to facilitate motor learning. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9(DEC). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00692

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