Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 11, pp 2799–2810 | Cite as

A single high-intensity exercise bout during early consolidation does not influence retention or relearning of sensorimotor locomotor long-term memories

  • Charalambos C. Charalambous
  • Margaret A. French
  • Susanne M. Morton
  • Darcy S. ReismanEmail author
Research Article


A single exercise bout has been found to improve the retention of a skill-based upper extremity motor task up to a week post-practice. This effect is the greatest when exercise intensity is high and exercise is administered immediately after motor practice (i.e., early in consolidation). Whether exercise can affect other motor learning types (e.g., sensorimotor adaptation) and tasks (e.g., walking) is still unclear as previous studies have not optimally refined the exercise parameters and long-term retention testing. Therefore, we investigated whether a single high-intensity exercise bout during early consolidation would improve the long-term retention and relearning of sensorimotor adaptation during split-belt treadmill walking. Twenty-six neurologically intact adults attended three sessions; sessions 2 and 3 were 1 day and 7 days after session 1, respectively. Participants were allocated either to Rest (REST) or to Exercise (EXE) group. In session 1, all groups walked on a split-belt treadmill in a 2:1 speed ratio (1.5:0.75 m/s). Then, half of the participants exercised for 5 min (EXE), while the other half rested for 5 min (REST). A short exercise bout during early consolidation did not improve retention or relearning of locomotor memories one or seven days after session 1. This result reinforces previous findings that the effect of exercise on motor learning may differ between sensorimotor locomotor adaptation and skilled-based upper extremity tasks; thus, the utility of exercise as a behavioral booster of motor learning may depend on the type of motor learning and task.


Sensorimotor adaptation Behavioral priming Consolidation Multiday motor learning Walking Gait rehabilitation 



The authors thank all participants and undergraduate student volunteers for their assistance during data collections. This material is the result of work supported in part by the National Institute of Health 1R01HD078330-01A1 and S10RR028114- 01A1.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Biomechanics and Movement Science ProgramUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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