The anti-apoptotic and pro-survival effects of exercise training were evaluated on the early aged hypertensive rat cerebral cortex. The brain tissues were analysed from ten sedentary male Wistar Kyoto normotensive rats (WKY), ten sedentary spontaneously 12 month early aged hypertensive rats (SHR), and ten hypertensive rats undergoing treadmill exercise training (60 min/day, 5 days/week) for 12 weeks (SHR-EX). TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells, the expression levels of endonuclease G (EndoG) and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) (caspase-independent apoptotic pathway), Fas ligand, Fas death receptor, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, TNF receptor 1, Fas-associated death domain, active caspase-8 and active caspase-3 (Fas-mediated apoptotic pathways) as well as t-Bid, Bax, Bak, Bad, cytochrome c, active caspase 9 and active caspase-3 (mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathways) were reduced in SHR-EX compared with SHR. Pro-survival Bcl2, Bcl-xL, p-Bad, 14-3-3, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, pPI3K/PI3K, and pAKT/AKT were significantly increased in SHR-EX compared to those in SHR. Exercise training suppressed neural EndoG/AIF-related caspase-independent, Fas/FasL-mediated caspase-dependent, mitochondria-mediated caspase-dependent apoptotic pathways as well as enhanced Bcl-2 family-related and IGF-1-related pro-survival pathways in the early aged hypertensive cerebral cortex. These findings indicated new therapeutic effects of exercise training on preventing early aged hypertension-induced neural apoptosis in cerebral cortex.