Aquarobic exercises improve the serum blood irisin and brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in elderly women

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BackgroundThe increase in the prevalence of degenerative brain diseases owing to the growing elderly population is becoming a serious social issue, and regular exercises can be effective in preventing and treating such diseases. Irisin, one of the myokines expressed in the muscles during exercise, is highly associated with the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of aquarobic exercises on serum irisin and BDNF levels to help prevent and delay degenerative brain diseases in elderly women.Materials and methodsTwenty-six elderly women voluntarily participated in the study (12 in the control group and 14 in the exercise group). The exercise group underwent a 16-week aquarobic exercise program. The irisin and BDNF levels and liver function were measured in both groups: three times in the exercise group and two times in the control group.ResultsSignificantly higher serum irisin (p < 0.001) and BDNF (p < 0.05) levels in the aquarobic exercise group than in the control group were found after 16 weeks of exercise, and significant interaction effects of irisin (p < 0.001) and BDNF (p < 0.01) were found in both the control and exercise groups. The serum irisin (p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively) and BDNF (p < 0.05, p < 0.001, respectively) levels were significantly higher 30 min after the first exercise session and 30 min after the last exercise session in the 16th week than during the rest period before the 16 weeks of exercise.ConclusionsAquarobic exercises were found to improve the serum irisin and BDNF levels; thus, it could be effective in preventing degenerative brain diseases and enhancing brain function of elderly women.HighlightsIrisin expression was proportional to the increase in exercise intensity.Increasing BDNF levels through exercise can positively affect brain function of elderly women.The increases in the BDNF and irisin levels induced by exercise are likely to be highly associated with each other.Aquarobic exercise may help prevent and delay degenerative brain diseases in elderly women.

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