^ Jump up to: a b c d Basso JC, Suzuki WA (March 2017). "The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review". Brain Plasticity. 2 (2): 127–152. doi:10.3233/BPL-160040. Lay summary – Can A Single Exercise Session Benefit Your Brain? (12 June 2017). A large collection of research in humans has shown that a single bout of exercise alters behavior at the level of affective state and cognitive functioning in several key ways. In terms of affective state, acute exercise decreases negative affect, increases positive affect, and decreases the psychological and physiological response to acute stress . These effects have been reported to persist for up to 24 hours after exercise cessation [28, 29, 53]. In terms of cognitive functioning, acute exercise primarily enhances executive functions dependent on the prefrontal cortex including attention, working memory, problem solving, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, decision making, and inhibitory control . These positive changes have been demonstrated to occur with very low to very high exercise intensities , with effects lasting for up to two hours after the end of the exercise bout (Fig. 1A) . Moreover, many of these neuropsychological assessments measure several aspects of behavior including both accuracy of performance and speed of processing. McMorris and Hale performed a meta-analysis examining the effects of acute exercise on both accuracy and speed of processing, revealing that speed significantly improved post-exercise, with minimal or no effect on accuracy . These authors concluded that increasing task difficulty or complexity may help to augment the effect of acute exercise on accuracy. ... However, in a comprehensive meta-analysis, Chang and colleagues found that exercise intensities ranging from very light (<50% MHR) to very hard (>93% MHR) have all been reported to improve cognitive functioning .
Take the stairs. You know, some people pay to use stairs (read: they buy a stair stepper machine), so if you work or live above the first floor, consider using your stairs as a privilege. Using the stairs is great cardiovascular exercise, and also tones your calves, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and abs. Next time you're about to take the elevator or escalator, take the stairs instead. If you have some time to spare, take an extra trip up and down. Or, try a stair-based workout like this one.
It is well known that exercise in the older population may prevent several diseases [1–4]. Reduced physical activity impairs the quality of life in elderly people with Alzheimer's Disease , Parkinson's Disease , and Depressive Disorders . Moreover, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and cerebrovascular decline are associated with poor physical fitness because of the cumulative effects of illness, multiple drug intake, fatigue, and bed rest [7, 8]. The effects of physical activity and exercise programs on fitness and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in elderly adults have been widely studied by several authors [9–11]. De Vries et al.  conducted a meta-analysis focusing on elderly patients with mobility problems and/or multimorbidity. Eighteen articles describing a wide variety of actions were analyzed. Most used a multicomponent training program focusing on the combination of strength, balance, and endurance training. In 9 of the 18 studies included, interventions were supervised by a physical therapist. Intensity of the intervention was not reported and the duration of the intervention varied from 5 weeks to 18 months. This meta-analysis concluded that, considering quality of life, the exercise versus no-exercise studies found no significant effects. High-intensity exercise appears to be somewhat more effective in improving physical functioning than low-intensity exercise. These positive effects are of great value in the patient population but the most effective type of intervention remains unclear. Brovold et al.  recently examined the effects of high-intensity training versus home-based exercise programs using the Norwegian Ullevaal Model  on a group of over-65-year-olds after discharge from hospital. These authors based their study on the Swedish Friskis-Svettis model  which was designed by Johan Holmsater for patients with coronaropathy to promote their return to work and everyday activities and improve their prognoses. This model includes three intervals of high intensity and two intervals of moderate intensity, each one lasting for 5 to 10 minutes. Included in each is coordination. Exercises consist of simple aerobic dance movements and involve the use of both upper and lower extremities to challenge postural control . Exercise intensity was adjusted using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale. Moderate intensity was set between 11 and 13, and high intensity was set between 15 and 17 on the Borg Scale.