White matter plasticity in healthy older adults: The effects of aerobic exercise


Scientists at Colorado State University’s BRAiN Lab recently reported on study findings showing “that white matter regions that are vulnerable to aging retain some degree of plasticity that can be induced by aerobic exercise training.” Evidence of plasticity in white matter and well as gray matter has important implications for cognitive health and avoidance of memory loss.  

The study aimed to measure the impacts of aerobic exercise, specifically walking and dancing, on white matter, which is commonly regarded as a passive brain tissue without the plasticity that gray matter has. To date, there has been little evidence of white matter plasticity in older humans.  However, the researchers found that aerobic activity over a period of six months stimulated the brain’s white matter, especially the regions that affect memory and executive functions.  Participant in the study who did regular talking showed the greatest impact, those who took social dancing classes also showed positive impact.

Access resource

subject terms

Aging & Longevity > Health: Brain & Mental

Aging & Longevity > Health: Physical

Aging & Longevity > Lifelong Learning


Andrea Mendez Colmenares

related organizations

Colorado State University

University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana



resource type

Research and Studies



art form