INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF AEROBIC EXERCISE ON CORTICOSPINAL EXCITABILITY: A SCOPING REVIEW
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Background/Aim: Emerging evidence suggests aerobic exercise (AE) enhances corticospinal excitability (CSE). The aim of this scoping review was to characterize evidence on whether acute AE increases CSE in healthy and post-stroke individuals. A sub-objective was to investigate AE characteristics that affect CSE. Methods: After searching four databases, studies examining the effect of a single bout of AE on CSE were identified and screened, and data extracted, tabulated, and characterized. Results: Seventeen studies matched the inclusion criteria. Overall, moderate intensity AE led to an increase in CSE among healthy individuals. In participants post-stroke, this effect was only observed following high intensity AE. Conclusion: In healthy individuals, moderate intensity AE induced CSE; however, neither low nor high intensity did. While the intensity was the most important factor, duration, modality, and participant characteristics also influenced the findings. Comparative studies are needed to further characterize the optimal AE conditions to enhance CSE.