Influence of chronic exercise on serum cortisol levels in older adults
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The circulating level of cortisol is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis through a neuroendocrine feedback circuit. This circuit can be activated by physiological stimuli such as stress, diseases, and exercise. High levels of serum cortisol hormone normally occur as a byproduct of aging, and can cause several types of damage to the organism and exacerbate immunosenescence. There is a great deal of variability in the cortisol response with regard to type, intensity, volume, and frequency of exercise. However, these relationships have been extensively studied with respect to the acute effects of exercise. Despite the well-known effects of acute exercise on cortisol response, it is unclear how it is affected by chronic exercise and the aging process. Therefore, the aim of this study was to conduct a review of studies that attempt to analyze the influence of chronic exercise on serum cortisol hormone in older people. In order to accomplish this goal, a review from 1970 to June 2012 period was performed using the following databases: Biological Abstracts, PsycINFO, PubMed/Medline, and the Web of Science. Eight articles met the criteria used in this study. Based on the included articles, chronic exercise may influence the serum levels of cortisol levels in older people. Despite this evidence, these results may not be generalized to the entire population of older people, given the few number of studies and especially because the studies showed diversity in variables and methodologies. © 2013 European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity (EGREPA).
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