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Physical Activity, Exercise, Sports, and Affective and Cognitive Wellbeing

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health-Related Quality of Life".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 18794

Special Issue Editor

Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Yamaguchi 755-8505, Japan
Interests: cognition; depression; decision-making; health promotion; green spaces; mental health; natural exposure; physical exercise; psychiatry; stress
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A growing body of research suggests that physical activity, exercise, and sports affect a wide range of cognitive and affective wellbeing, including attention, executive functions, short and long-term memory, divergent thinking, academic performance, resilience, and mental health. As a result, regular physical activity has been recommended as a strategy to enhance brain health and a therapy for treating neurological and psychiatric disorders such as dementia, major depression, and anxiety disorders. However, despite these fruitful findings and common recommendations, there are still many unknowns to prescribe physical exercise effectively and efficiently. For instance, it is still unclear what kind of physical activity, exercise, and sports conducted with how long a duration achieves maximal benefits to obtain a target treatment outcome in a specific population. Furthermore, what kind of moderators and mediators exist in the affective and cognitive effects of physical activity, exercise, and sports, which may help to dissect the heterogeneity of the responses, remains largely uninvestigated. In addition, the development of effective strategies to enhance the motivation for and cultivate the habits of physical activity, exercise, and sports is another area of research critical for exercise prescriptions.

The goal of this Special Issue is to address these unsolved issues, advance our understanding of the affective and cognitive benefits of physical activity, exercise, and sports, and explore factors that potentially influence the motivation for physical activity, exercise, and sports. Any topics relevant to the association between physical activity, exercise, sports (either acute or chronic), and cognitive functions, affective wellbeing, and mental health are welcome. The subjects can be healthy human volunteers or clinical patients of different ages and backgrounds. Article types include, but are not limited to, original research, short communications, clinical trials, reviews, meta-analyses, and case-reports. For original research and short communications, the design can be cross-sectional, longitudinal, or interventional.

Dr. Chong Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • physical exercise
  • cognition
  • wellbeing
  • sports
  • health promotion

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 2448 KiB  
Article
Effects of Voluntary Wheel Running Exercise on Chemotherapy-Impaired Cognitive and Motor Performance in Mice
by Thomas H. Lee, Malegaddi Devaki, Douglas A. Formolo, Julia M. Rosa, Andy S. K. Cheng and Suk-Yu Yau
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(7), 5371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075371 - 3 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2102
Abstract
Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (chemobrain) and muscle wasting (cachexia) are persisting side effects which adversely affect the quality of life of cancer survivors. We therefore investigated the efficacy of physical exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to reverse the adverse effects of chemotherapy. We examined [...] Read more.
Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (chemobrain) and muscle wasting (cachexia) are persisting side effects which adversely affect the quality of life of cancer survivors. We therefore investigated the efficacy of physical exercise as a non-pharmacological intervention to reverse the adverse effects of chemotherapy. We examined whether physical exercise in terms of voluntary wheel running could prevent chemotherapy-induced cognitive and motor impairments in mice treated with the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib. Adult male BALB/c mice were subdivided into runner and non-runner groups and orally administered with sorafenib (60 mg/kg) or vehicle continuously for four weeks. Mice could freely access the running wheel anytime during sorafenib or vehicle treatment. We found that sorafenib treatment reduced body weight gain (% of change, vehicle: 3.28 ± 3.29, sorafenib: −9.24 ± 1.52, p = 0.0004), impaired hippocampal-dependent spatial memory in the Y maze (exploration index, vehicle: 35.57 ± 11.38%, sorafenib: −29.62 ± 7.90%, p < 0.0001), increased anhedonia-like behaviour in the sucrose preference test (sucrose preference, vehicle: 66.57 ± 3.52%, sorafenib: 44.54 ± 4.25%, p = 0.0005) and impaired motor skill acquisition in rotarod test (latency to fall on day 1: 37.87 ± 8.05 and day 2: 37.22 ± 12.26 s, p > 0.05) but did not induce muscle wasting or reduce grip strength. Concomitant voluntary running reduced anhedonia-like behaviour (sucrose preference, sedentary: 44.54 ± 4.25%, runners: 59.33 ± 4.02%, p = 0.0357), restored impairment in motor skill acquisition (latency to fall on day 1: 50.85 ± 15.45 and day 2: 168.50 ± 37.08 s, p = 0.0004), but failed to rescue spatial memory deficit. Immunostaining results revealed that sorafenib treatment did not affect the number of proliferating cells and immature neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG), whereas running significantly increased cell proliferation in both vehicle- (total Ki-67+ cells, sedentary: 16,687.34 ± 72.63, exercise: 3320.03 ± 182.57, p < 0.0001) and sorafenib-treated mice (Ki-67+ cells in the ventral DG, sedentary: 688.82.34 ± 38.16, exercise: 979.53 ± 73.88, p < 0.0400). Our results suggest that spatial memory impairment and anhedonia-like behaviour precede the presence of muscle wasting, and these behavioural deficits are independent of the changes in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Running effectively prevents body weight loss, improves motor skill acquisition and reduces anhedonia-like behaviour associated with increased proliferating cells and immature neurons in DG. Taken together, they support physical exercise rehabilitation as an effective strategy to prevent chemotherapy side effects in terms of mood dysregulation and motor deficit. Full article
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12 pages, 1009 KiB  
Article
Mediating Effects of Trait Anxiety and State Anxiety on the Effects of Physical Activity on Depressive Symptoms
by Masayuki Kikkawa, Akiyoshi Shimura, Kazuki Nakajima, Chihiro Morishita, Mina Honyashiki, Yu Tamada, Shinji Higashi, Masahiko Ichiki, Takeshi Inoue and Jiro Masuya
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(7), 5319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075319 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2024
Abstract
Background: Previous studies have reported that physical activity can prevent the onset of depression and reduces anxiety. In the present study, the hypothesis that total physical activity time influences depressive symptoms via state and trait anxiety was tested by a path analysis. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: Previous studies have reported that physical activity can prevent the onset of depression and reduces anxiety. In the present study, the hypothesis that total physical activity time influences depressive symptoms via state and trait anxiety was tested by a path analysis. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were used to survey 526 general adult volunteers from April 2017 to April 2018. Demographic information, physical activity, and state and trait anxiety were investigated. Results: The association between physical activity time and depressive symptoms was expressed as a U-shape curve. The results of the covariance structure analysis showed that differences from the optimal physical activity time (DOT) had direct positive effects on state and trait anxiety. DOT affected depressive symptoms only via trait anxiety, and this was a complete mediation model. Conclusion: The present study suggests that an optimal physical activity time exists for depressive symptoms. The path model demonstrated an association between the three factors of optimal physical activity time, trait anxiety, and depressive symptoms, and the effect was fully mediated by trait anxiety. Full article
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14 pages, 358 KiB  
Article
Sports Participation and Academic Performance in Primary School: A Cross-Sectional Study in Chinese Children
by Yao Zhang, Jin Yan, Xiao Jin, Hongying Yang, Ying Zhang, Huijun Ma and Rui Ma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043678 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5747
Abstract
Previous studies have demonstrated that the effect of sports participation on student health and academic performance is significant. However, the relationship between sports participation and academic performance in specific subjects (e.g., English) in the Chinese population is not clear, especially in primary schools. [...] Read more.
Previous studies have demonstrated that the effect of sports participation on student health and academic performance is significant. However, the relationship between sports participation and academic performance in specific subjects (e.g., English) in the Chinese population is not clear, especially in primary schools. Therefore, the present cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the relationship between sports participation and academic performance in Chinese elementary schools. Methods: All study participants were asked to self-report their sociodemographic factors (e.g., sex, grade, age), independence, and outcomes. Alongside that, a self-reported questionnaire was used to assess participation in sports and academic performance of three core subjects in China’s schooling system (Chinese; math; English; from A to F, with A indicating the best academic performance). An ordered logistic regression, with an odds ratio (OR) at 95%CI confidence interval, was performed to examine the association between sports team participation and academic performance. Results: The final analysis included 27,954 children aged 10–14. Children in the fifth and sixth grades accounted for 50.2% and 49.8%. Chinese, math, and English academic performance were positively correlated with participation in sports. Compared with students who never participate in sports, those students who participate in sports 1–3 times a month, 1–2 times a week, and 3 or more times a week, were more likely to achieve better grades. In terms of math, compared with students who never participate in sports, those students who participate in sports 1–3 times a month, 1–2 times a week, and 3 or more times a week, were more likely to achieve better grades. Regarding English, compared with students who never participate in sports, those students who participate in sports 1–3 times a month, 1–2 times a week, and 3 or more times a week, were more likely to achieve better grades. Conclusions: Consistent with previous studies, the current study confirms the positive effect of sports participation on children’s academic performance. For an academic-related outreach, gender-, grade- and area-specific strategies should be considered in future research. Full article
13 pages, 1139 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Exercise Intensity on Affective and Repetition Priming in Middle-Aged Adults
by Cristina Perez-Rojo, Jennifer A. Rieker and Soledad Ballesteros
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169873 - 10 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1841
Abstract
Previous research has shown that physical exercise improves memory. In the present study, we investigated the possible effects of the intensity of physical exercise as a function of the affective valence of words on implicit memory. In the study, 79 young adult volunteers [...] Read more.
Previous research has shown that physical exercise improves memory. In the present study, we investigated the possible effects of the intensity of physical exercise as a function of the affective valence of words on implicit memory. In the study, 79 young adult volunteers were randomly assigned to perform moderate- (50% VO2max) or high-intensity exercise (80% VO2max) on a stationary bike. Once the required exercise intensity was achieved, participants performed an affective and repetition priming task concurrently with the physical exercise. Both groups showed similar repetition priming. The moderate-intensity exercise group showed affective priming with positive words, while affective priming was not found in the high-intensity exercise group. Facilitation occurred in both groups when a negative target word was preceded by a positive prime word. Our results suggest that the positive effect of physical exercise on memory is modulated by the affective valence of the stimuli. It seems that moderate-intensity exercise is more beneficial for implicit memory than high-intensity exercise. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 666 KiB  
Review
Walking, Running, Swimming: An Analysis of the Effects of Land and Water Aerobic Exercises on Cognitive Functions and Neural Substrates
by Laura Serra, Laura Petrosini, Laura Mandolesi, Sabrina Bonarota, Francesca Balsamo, Marco Bozzali, Carlo Caltagirone and Francesca Gelfo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316310 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2674
Abstract
In the brain and cognitive reserves framework, aerobic exercise is considered as a protective lifestyle factor able to induce positive effects on both brain structure and function. However, specific aspects of such a beneficial effect still need to be completely clarified. To this [...] Read more.
In the brain and cognitive reserves framework, aerobic exercise is considered as a protective lifestyle factor able to induce positive effects on both brain structure and function. However, specific aspects of such a beneficial effect still need to be completely clarified. To this aim, the present narrative review focused on the potential brain/cognitive/neural reserve–construction mechanisms triggered by different aerobic exercise types (land activities; such as walking or running; vs. water activities; such as swimming), by considering human and animal studies on healthy subjects over the entire lifespan. The literature search was conducted in PubMed database. The studies analyzed here indicated that all the considered kinds of activities exert a beneficial effect on cognitive/behavioral functions and on the underlying brain neurobiological processes. In particular, the main effects observed involve the cognitive domains of memory and executive functions. These effects appear related to structural and functional changes mainly involving the fronto-hippocampal axis. The present review supports the requirement of further studies that investigate more specifically and systematically the effects of each type of aerobic activity, as a basis to plan more effective and personalized interventions on individuals as well as prevention and healthy promotion policies for the general population. Full article
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18 pages, 2479 KiB  
Review
The Effects of Physical Activity on Positive Emotions in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Jiayu Li, Zan Huang, Wenna Si and Tianyi Shao
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(21), 14185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192114185 - 30 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3263
Abstract
Background: Positive emotions help children and adolescents develop good personalities and interpersonal relationships. Evidence shows that participation in physical activity is associated with positive emotions in young people. However, there is still a lack of studies on the effects of physical activity on [...] Read more.
Background: Positive emotions help children and adolescents develop good personalities and interpersonal relationships. Evidence shows that participation in physical activity is associated with positive emotions in young people. However, there is still a lack of studies on the effects of physical activity on positive emotions in children and adolescents. Objective: The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to examine the effects of physical activity on positive emotions in children and adolescents. Methods: Online databases (Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCOhost, and APA PsycInfo) were searched from inception to August 2022. Result: A total of 24 articles were eventually included representing 3907 participants from 14 different countries. Overall, the effect of physical activity interventions on positive emotions was significant. The studies revealed that positive emotions were statistically better in the physical activity participation group than in the control group without physical activity (SMD = 0.62, 95% CI: (0.24, 1.01), (p < 0.01). Based on subgroup analyses, we found that participation in aerobic exercise for 30–60 min in adolescents aged ≥12 years had a more significant intervention effect on positive emotions. Conclusion: These findings indicate that the moods of children and adolescents who participate in physical activity significantly improved compared with the moods of those who do not participate in physical activity. The age, exercise type, and exercise duration of adolescents are important factors influencing the positive emotions resulting from physical activity interventions. Full article
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