Physical Activity and Cognitive Control: Implications for Drug Abuse


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Charles H. Hillman, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, 317 Louise Freer Hall, 906 South Goodwin Avenue, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail:


This article focuses on a growing body of research that has studied the beneficial relation between chronic participation in—and acute responses to—physical activity and brain health, cognition, and scholastic achievement. Specifically, it highlights the relevant behavioral and neuroimaging findings of this beneficial relation in children and adults, providing evidence for the influence of chronic and acute physical activity on brain structure and function that underlie cognition and scholastic achievement. In addition, the article discusses the implications for the role of physical activity on drug use, as well as its prevention and treatment, and makes recommendations for further research in this area.