Exercise-induced hormesis

Alexis M. Stranahan, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The consequences of physical activity on the brain can readily be integrated into a hormetic framework. Whereas low- to moderate-intensity exercise exerts positive effects on the body, excessive exercise can be detrimental for somatic health. Here we review the evidence linking physical activity with cellular and functional modifications in different organ systems, with a focus on the dose-response characteristics of this relationship. Voluntary running and short-term treadmill running within the range of intensities normally experienced during voluntary running both enhance metabolism and preserve function across multiple organ systems. In contrast, running to exhaustion has a negative impact on global functioning. Overall, the effects of exercise clearly depend on the amount and intensity of activity. These effects conform to the biological principle of hormesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHormesis: A Revolution in Biology, Toxicology and Medicine
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781607614951, 9781607614944
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise
  • Hippocampus
  • Running
  • Treadmill
  • Wheel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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