Improved sensorimotor adaptation after exhaustive exercise is accompanied by altered brain activity

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Acute exercise has been shown to exhibit different effects on human sensorimotor behavior; however, the causes and mechanisms of the responses are often not clear. The primary aim of the present study was to determine the effects of incremental running until exhaustion on sensorimotor performance and adaptation in a tracking task. Subjects were randomly assigned to a running group (RG), a tracking group (TG), or a running followed by tracking group (RTG), with 10 subjects assigned to each group. Treadmill running velocity was initially set at 2.0 m s(-1), increasing by 0.5 m s(-1) every 5 min until exhaustion. Tracking consisted of 35 episodes (each 40 s) where the subjects' task was to track a visual target on a computer screen while the visual feedback was veridical (performance) or left-right reversed (adaptation). Resting electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded before and after each experimental condition (running, tracking, rest). Tracking performance and the final amount of adaptation did not differ between groups. However, task adaptation was significantly faster in RTG compared to TG. In addition, increased alpha and beta power were observed following tracking in TG but not RTG although exhaustive running failed to induce significant changes in these frequency bands. Our results suggest that exhaustive running can facilitate adaptation processes in a manual tracking task. Attenuated cortical activation following tracking in the exercise condition was interpreted to indicate cortical efficiency and exercise-induced facilitation of selective central processes during actual task demands.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiology & behavior
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 08.01.2009

Research areas and keywords

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain
  • Electroencephalography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Rest
  • Running
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Track and Field
  • Young Adult
  • Exercise
  • Sensorimotor adaptation
  • Cortical activation
  • Exhaustion
  • Tracking


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