Physical activity is associated with behavioral and neural changes across the lifespan

G. Vinodh Kumar, Simon Lacey, K. Sathian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physical activity is known to positively impact brain structure and function, but its effects on resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) and its relationship with complex tasks as a function of age remain unclear. Here, we address these issues in a large population-based sample (N = 540) from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) repository. We relate levels of physical activity to rsFC patterns in magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, and to measures of executive function and visuomotor adaptation, across the lifespan. We show that higher self-reported daily physical activity is associated with lower alpha-band (8–12 Hz) global coherence, indicating weaker synchrony of neural oscillations in this band. Physical activity affected between-network connectivity of resting-state functional networks, although its effects on individual networks did not survive correction for multiple comparisons. Furthermore, our results indicate that greater engagement in day-to-day physical activity is associated with better visuomotor adaptation, across the lifespan. Overall, our findings indicate that rsFC metrics indexed by MEG and fMRI are sensitive indicators of the brain's response to physical activity, and that a physically active lifestyle affects multiple aspects of neural function across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number137355
JournalNeuroscience letters
StatePublished - Jul 27 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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