Physiotherapy - The Journal of Indian Association of Physiotherapists

: 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119--120

Comment on: “Relationship between physical activity and cognition among young adults”

Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu 
 Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro, Rome, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chidiebere Emmanuel Okechukwu
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro, 5, 00185 Rome

How to cite this article:
Okechukwu CE. Comment on: “Relationship between physical activity and cognition among young adults”.Physiother - J Indian Assoc Physiother 2020;14:119-120

How to cite this URL:
Okechukwu CE. Comment on: “Relationship between physical activity and cognition among young adults”. Physiother - J Indian Assoc Physiother [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 16 ];14:119-120
Available from:

Full Text

Dear Editor,

The recent article by Shah and Chauhan[1] highlighted many vital points regarding the impact of physical activity (PA) on cognitive performance among young adults. However, there is a need to emphasize the type and intensity of PA that is effective in improving cognition in young people. According to a recent study conducted by Nakagawa et al.,[2] they found that regular participation in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA attaining at least 3000 MET-min/week, rather than low-intensity PA, was associated with improvements in cognitive and mental health parameters among young adults. A single bout of 30-min mat-based Pilates, a mind–body exercise technique centered on core stability and muscle control, substantially decreased overall mood disturbance, anxiety, and fatigue among young male adults.[3]

The physiological mechanisms behind exercise mediated improvements in cognitive functioning among younger adults could be associated with exercise-induced rises in circulating levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a growth factor that increases neural plasticity and synaptic growth and transmission and has been proven to improve cognition due to its upregulation and role in angiogenesis.[4] An additional mechanism is an exercise-induced rise in cerebral blood flow (CBF), and rises in CBF are related to increased executive functioning.[4]

In conclusion, there is a need to promote PA among young adults in order to improve their cognitive performance and to inculcate the habit of regular PA among them so as to encourage healthy living throughout their lifetime because the effect of aerobic exercise on cognition is more distinct as age increases, signifying that regular participation in aerobic training could lessen age-associated cognitive declines.[5],[6] However, future studies should investigate the exact dose of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity PA that is effective in mitigating age-related cognitive declines.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Shah S, Chauhan S. Relationship between physical activity and cognition among young adults. Physiother-J Indian Assoc Physiother 2020;14:41-5.
2Nakagawa T, Koan I, Chen C, Matsubara T, Hagiwara K, Lei H, et al. Regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity rather than walking is associated with enhanced cognitive functions and mental health in young adults. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:614.
3Fleming KM, Campbell M, Herring MP. Acute effects of Pilates on mood states among young adult males. Complement Ther Med 2020;49:102313.
4Stillman CM, Esteban-Cornejo I, Brown B, Bender CM, Erickson KI. Effects of exercise on brain and cognition across age groups and health states. Trends Neurosci 2020;43:533-43.
5Stern Y, MacKay-Brandt A, Lee S, McKinley P, McIntyre K, Razlighi Q, et al. Effect of aerobic exercise on cognition in younger adults: A randomized clinical trial. Neurology 2019;92:e905-16.
6Okechukwu CE. Exercise as preventative therapy against neurodegenerative diseases in older adults. Int J Prev Med 2019;10:165.