Mind and muscle: The cognitive-affective neuroscience of exercise
There is growing basic-science interest in the mechanisms underpinning the positive effects of exercise on brain function and cognitive-affective performance. There is also increasing clinical evidence that exercise may prevent and treat various neuropsychiatric disorders. At the same time, there is growing awareness that athletic performance is mediated in crucial ways by central nervous system mechanisms. The relevant mechanisms in all these cases requires further exploration, but likely includes neurotrophic, neuroendocrine, and neurotransmitter systems, which in turn are crucial mediators of psychopathology and resilience. The hypothesis that Homo sapiens evolved as a specialist endurance runner provides an intriguing context against which to research the proximal mechanisms relevant to a cognitive-affective neuroscience of exercise.