Exercise, stress resistance, and central serotonergic systems

Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2011 Jul;39(3):140-9. doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31821f7e45.


Voluntary exercise reduces the incidence of stress-related psychiatric disorders in humans and prevents serotonin-dependent behavioral consequences of stress in rodents. Evidence reviewed herein is consistent with the hypothesis that exercise increases stress resistance by producing neuroplasticity at multiple sites of the central serotonergic system, which all help to limit the behavioral impact of acute increases in serotonin during stressor exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Helplessness, Learned
  • Humans
  • Locus Coeruleus / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Rats
  • Serotonin / physiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*


  • Serotonin