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Physical Activity to Improve Cognition

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There is now strong evidence suggesting that cognitive health is associated with physical wellbeing. It is especially important to understand the role physical activity and exercise might play in cognitive function at critical points of life characterized by rapid changes, i.e., in childhood and old age. It seems that higher levels of physical activity are beneficial for academic performance, activities of daily life, independence, and quality of life. Therefore, research focuses on the development of novel exercise interventions and on the mechanisms of how such interventions enhance cognitive health across the lifespan. Collaborative research between the Center for Human Movement Sciences and the departments of Neuropsychology, Molecular Neurobiology, Educational Sciences, Remedial Education, and the Institute for Sport Studies examines the effects of in- and outside classroom physical activity on executive function and school performance, the effects of combined aerobic and strength training on executive functioning and memory in people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment, and the effects of whole body vibration on motor and cognitive function in the physically vulnerable elderly.