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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
Original articles EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2009 June;49(2):129-35
Effects of aerobic exercise training on brain structure and psychological well-being in young adults
Gondoh Y. 1, Sensui H. 2, Kinomura S. 3, Fukuda H. 3, Fujimoto T. 4, Masud M. 4, Nagamatsu T. 2, Tamaki H. 1, Takekura H.1
1 Department of Physiological Sciences National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima, Japan
2 Physical Fitness Research Institute Meiji Yasuda Life Foundation of Health and Welfare, Tokyo, Japan
3 Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology Division of Brain Sciences, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
4 Center for the Advancement of Higher Education Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
Aim. There is convergent evidence that exercise increases psychological well-being; however, the mechanism of this psychological effect of exercise is not yet completely understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of aerobic exercise training on brain structure and psychological well-being in young adults.
Methods. University students who had not regularly exercised were divided into training group (N.=15) and control group (N.=15). The training group performed a total 30 periods of aerobic exercise training, while the control group never performed. Whole-brain magnetic resonance imaging scans and mental health questionnaire examinations were performed before and after the exercise training period for all of the participants. A voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis was used to compare the changes in gray-matter volumes in the two groups. VBM is an objective whole-brain technique for characterization of regional cerebral volume and tissue concentration differences in structural magnetic resonance images.
Results. The results of VBM analysis revealed no change in gray-matter volume in the training group, although the gray-matter volume of the left insula was significantly decreased in the control group after the exercise training period. The training group exhibited significant improvement in some scores on the mental health questionnaire after the exercise training period, compared with the control group.
Conclusion. These findings suggest that aerobic exercise training may inhibit gray-matter volume loss in the insula, and that a relationship may exist between preservation of insula gray-matter and improvement of psychological well-being by aerobic exercise training.