, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 69-83
Date: 15 Oct 2010

Influence of Physical Exercise on Neuroimmunological Functioning and Health: Aging and Stress

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Abstract

Chronic and acute stress, with associated pathophysiology, are implicated in a variety of disease states, with neuroimmunological dysregulation and inflammation as major hazards to health and functional sufficiency. Psychosocial stress and negative affect are linked to elevations in several inflammatory biomarkers. Immunosenescence, the deterioration of immune competence observed in the aged aspect of the life span, linked to a dramatic rise in morbidity and susceptibility to diseases with fatal outcomes, alters neuroimmunological function and is particularly marked in the neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Physical exercise diminishes inflammation and elevates agents and factors involved in immunomodulatory function. Both the alleviatory effects of life-long physical activity upon multiple cancer forms and the palliative effects of physical activity for individuals afflicted by cancer offer advantages in health intervention. Chronic conditions of stress and affective dysregulation are associated with neuroimmunological insufficiency and inflammation, contributing to health risk and mortality. Physical exercise regimes have induced manifest anti-inflammatory benefits, mediated possibly by brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The epidemic proportions of metabolic disorders, obesity, and diabetes demand attention; several variants of exercise regimes have been found repeatedly to induce both prevention and improvement under both laboratory and clinical conditions. Physical exercise offers a unique non-pharmacologic intervention incorporating multiple activity regimes, e.g., endurance versus resistance exercise that may be adapted to conform to the particular demands of diagnosis, intervention and prognosis inherent to the staging of autoimmune disorders and related conditions.