The effects of intensity and duration of aerobic exercise on spatial memory function in male Wistar rats

Keywords: aerobic exercise, spatial memory
Abstract viewed: 928 times
PDF downloaded: 739 times
HTML downloaded: 116 times
EPUB downloaded: 326 times


BACKGROUND Memory is a vital function of the brain. Aerobic exercise has a positive effect on memory's function, but the appropriate combination of intensity and duration of aerobic exercise is still unknown. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of optimum combinations of intensity and duration of aerobic exercise on spatial memory function. 

METHODS In this study, the authors performed in vivo experiment using 20 male Wistar rats (6-month-old). They were randomly divided into four groups: (1) low-intensity and short duration aerobic exercise group (L-S); (2) low-intensity and long duration aerobic exercise group (L-L); (3) high-intensity and short duration aerobic exercise group (H-S); and (4) high-intensity and long duration aerobic exercise group (H-L). The aerobic exercise treatment of each group was conducted for three weeks with a frequency of five days a week. The memory function was assessed with the help of water-E-maze on week 0, 1, 2, and 3 (a total of four times). 

RESULTS This study indicates that the central nervous system responds to aerobic exercise as an external stimulus differently depending on the combinations of intensity and duration. Moreover, this study demonstrates that changes in memory functions are best observed in the group with low-intensity and long duration aerobic exercise. 

CONCLUSIONS The combination of low-intensity and long duration of aerobic exercise for animal study can improve spatial memory functions better than any other combinations of intensity and duration of aerobic exercises in male Wistar rats.


  1. Frick KM, Fernandez SM. Enrichment enhances spatial memory and increases synaptophysin levels in aged female mice. Neurobiol Aging. 2003;24(4):615-26.

  2. Van der Borght K, Havekes R, Bos T, Eggen BJ, Van der Zee EA. Exercise improves memory acquisition and retrieval in the Y-maze task: relationship with hippocampal neurogenesis. Behav Neurosci. 2007;121(2):324-34.

  3. Ayoub RS. Effect of exercise on spatial learning and memory in male diabetic rats. Int J Diabetes & Metabolism. 2009;17:93-8.

  4. Lou SJ, Liu JY, Chang H, Chena PJ. Hippocampal neurogenesis and gene expression depend on exercise intensity in juvenile rats. Brain Res. 2008;1210:48-55.

  5. Leeuwenburgh C, Heinecke JW. Oxidative stress and antioxidants in exercise. Curr Med Chem. 2001;8(7):829-38.

  6. Plowman SA, Smith DL. Exercise physiology for health, fitness, and performance. 2nd Edition. USA: Pearson Education Inc; 2003.

  7. Shimada H, Hamakawa M, Ishida A, Tamakoshi K, Nakashima H, Ishida K. Low-speed treadmill running exercise improves memory function after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion in rats. Behav Brain Res. 2013;243:21-7.

  8. Shih PC, Yang YR, Wang RY. Effects of exercise intensity on spatial memory performance and hippocampal synaptic plasticity in transient brain ischemic rats. PLoS One. 2013;8(10):e78163.

  9. Aguiar AS Jr, Boemer G, Rial D, Cordova FM, Mancini G, Walz R, et al. High-intensity physical exercise disrupts implicit memory in mice: involvement of the striatal glutathione antioxidant system and intracellular signaling. Neuroscience. 2010;171(4):1216-27.

  10. Hildebrandt AL, Pilegaard H, Naufer PD. Differential transcriptional activation of select metabolic genes in response to variations in exercise intensity and duration. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003;285(5):E1021-7.

  11. Furqaani AR. Pengaruh latihan fisik terhadap kemampuan belajar dan memori serta kadar serotonin pada hipokampus tikus (Rattus novergicus) galur Wistar jantan dewasa [thesis]. Jakarta (Indonesia): Universitas Indonesia; 2013. Indonesian.

  12. de Almeida AA, Gomes da Silva S, Fernandes J, Peixinho-Pena LF, Scorza FA, Cavalheiro EA, et al. Differential effects of exercise intensities in hippocampal BDNF, inflammatory cytokines and cell proliferation in rats during the postnatal brain development. Neurosci Lett. 2013;553:1-6.

  13. van Praag H, Shubert T, Zhao C, Gage FH. Exercise enhances learning and hippocampal neurogenesis in aged mice. J Neurosci. 2005;25(38):8680-5.

  14. Real CC, Ferreira AF, Hernandes MS, Britto LR, Pires RS. Exerciseinduced plasticity of AMPA-type glutamate receptor subunits in the rat brain. Brain Res. 2010;1363:63-71.

  15. Carlson NR. Physiology of behavior. 11th ed. USA: Pearson Education Inc, 2013.

How to Cite
Kartinah NT, Yolanda S, Bariroh T. The effects of intensity and duration of aerobic exercise on spatial memory function in male Wistar rats. Med J Indones [Internet]. 2019Oct.4 [cited 2024May19];28(3):223-7. Available from:
Basic Medical Research