Virtual reality (VR) has potential benefits for training and rehabilitation (Lei et al., 2019; Rutkowski et al., 2020). In some instances, understanding how performance in VR relates to performance in the real world is a necessary step in building effective environments. This study was designed to determine whether gait in VR changes over time (adaptation), and whether it approaches natural environment performance over time (habituation). Nineteen young adults walked over a gait mat in a real hallway for five minutes and a virtual hallway for three 10-minute blocks. Results indicated that gait was significantly different in the natural environment compared to the first five minutes of immersion (p < 0.05). Group averages also demonstrated that after 10–15 minutes of immersion, there was no statistical difference between the virtual and natural environments across any of the gait measures (p > 0.05). However, individual differences in gait behavior were also evident. While some participants matched performance between virtual and natural environments by the end of the 30-minute session, others did not. These findings provide evidence that individuals adapt differently to motor tasks in VR and suggest that when gait is required in VR, the environment may need to be tailored to the individual to achieve desired outcomes.

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