Physical activity induces adult hippocampal neurogenesis. We here show that the acute up-regulating effect of voluntary wheel running on precursor cell proliferation decreases with continued exercise, but that continued exercise reduces the age-dependent decline in adult neurogenesis. Cell proliferation peaked at 3 days of running. After 32 days of exercise this response returned to baseline. Running-induced proliferation of transiently amplifying progenitor cells led to a consecutive increase in the number of more mature cells. Increasing age reduced adult neurogenesis at 9 months to 50% of the value at 6 weeks and to 17% at the age of 2 years. At both 1 and 2 years, precursor cell divisions remained inducible by physical activity. Exercise from 3 to 9 months of age significantly reduced the age-dependent decline in cell proliferation but (presumably in the absence of additional stimuli) did not maintain net neurogenesis at levels corresponding to a younger age. We propose that physical activity might contribute to successful aging by increasing the potential for neurogenesis represented by the pool of proliferating precursor cells.