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Exercise Facilitates Learning

Principal Investigator:
Amy
Bastian

The purpose of this work is to study the effect of a single, acute bout of physical exercise on subsequent motor learning. Previous studies have shown that acute bouts of aerobic exercise can lead to improvement on cognitive learning and memory tests. We hypothesize that aerobic exercise will also facilitate improvements in motor learning and retention. If so, patients with motor disorders may benefit from participating in aerobic exercise just prior to specific movement rehabilitation.

Therefore, we will study the effect of a single bout of aerobic exercise (i.e. running) on subsequent motor learning of a completely different movement (i.e. hand and arm movements) in healthy subjects to ask:

  1. Does aerobic exercise just prior to performance of motor learning tasks affect the learning rate or amount?
  2. Does aerobic exercise alter retention of the learned pattern from one day to the next?

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