Physical Exercise As Stabilizer For Alzheimer'S Disease Cognitive Decline: Current Status

Sergio Machado1, 3, *, Alberto Souza de Sá Filho1, 2, Matheus Wilbert2, Gabriela Barbieri2, Victor Almeida2, Alexandre Gurgel2, Charles V. Rosa2, Victor Lins2, Alexandre Paixão2, Kamila Santana2, Gabriel Ramos2, Geraldo Maranhão Neto2, Flávia Paes1, Nuno Rocha3, 4, Eric Murillo-Rodriguez3, 5
1 Laboratory of Physical Activity Neuroscience (LABNAF), Physical Activity Postgraduate Program, Salgado de Oliveira University, Niterói, Brazil; Laboratory of Panic & Respiration, Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2 Physical Activity Science Postgraduate Program, Salgado de Oliveira University, Niterói, Brazil
3 Intercontinental Neuroscience Research Group
4 Politechnique Institute of Porto, Healthy School, Porto, Portugal
5 Laboratorio de Neurociencias Moleculares e Integrativas Escuela de Medicina, División Ciencias de la Salud Universidad Anáhuac Mayab, Yucatán, Mexico

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© 2017 Machado et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Laboratory of Physical Activity Neuroscience. Physical Activity Sciences Postgraduate Program, Salgado de Oliveira University, Niterói - Brazil, Tel: +5538988042715; E-mail:



Mental health decline is one of the main responsible factors for augments in health care costs, and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Some studies stated physical exercise is useful for reduction in cognitive decline and AD. Moreover, a recent review argued that evidence are scarce due to few studies published and lack of configuration information of exercise protocol, such as intensity and duration of exercise, number of sessions and other relevant data, to allow appropriate assessment.

Materials and Methods:

Here, we discussed the possible confounders or factors responsible for these differences and possible neurophysiological mechanisms.


Most studies revealed a possible positive association between physical exercise and cognitive assessments. There are inconsistencies in studies design responsible for varying use of cognitive assessments and different assessments of fitness. However, these studies do not fail to provide evidence about the benefits of exercise, but fail to make it possible because of the lack of dose-response information in AD patients. Physical exercise of moderate intensity should be considered as standard recommendation to reduce cognitive decline, probably due to the improvement in neurodegenerative mechanisms, and the increase in neuroplastic and neuroprotective neurotrophic factors.


Therefore, it is suggested that physical exercise is an important neuroprotective modulator, bringing significant control of the disease and amplifying brain functions.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, Unimodal and multimodal training, Cognitive functioning, Physical exercise.