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Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans

Marcora, Samuele Maria, Staiano, Walter, Manning, Victoria (2009) Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 106 (3). pp. 857-864. ISSN 1522-1601. (doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.91324.2008) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:40362)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.
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Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity. Although the impact of mental fatigue on cognitive and skilled performance is well known, its effect on physical performance has not been thoroughly investigated. In this randomized crossover study, 16 subjects cycled to exhaustion at 80% of their peak power output after 90 min of a demanding cognitive task (mental fatigue) or 90 min of watching emotionally neutral documentaries (control). After experimental treatment, a mood questionnaire revealed a state of mental fatigue (P = 0.005) that significantly reduced time to exhaustion (640 ± 316 s) compared with the control condition (754 ± 339 s) (P = 0.003). This negative effect was not mediated by cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic factors as physiological responses to intense exercise remained largely unaffected. Self-reported success and intrinsic motivation related to the physical task were also unaffected by prior cognitive activity. However, mentally fatigued subjects rated perception of effort during exercise to be significantly higher compared with the control condition (P = 0.007). As ratings of perceived exertion increased similarly over time in both conditions (P < 0.001), mentally fatigued subjects reached their maximal level of perceived exertion and disengaged from the physical task earlier than in the control condition. In conclusion, our study provides experimental evidence that mental fatigue limits exercise tolerance in humans through higher perception of effort rather than cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic mechanisms. Future research in this area should investigate the common neurocognitive resources shared by physical and mental activity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91324.2008
Additional information: This output is one of the most cited articles on fatigue published in Sport Sciences and Physiology journals during the REF period (4th place out 768 articles). In terms of citations, this output is also in the upper 1% of all 433 articles published in the Journal of Applied Physiology during the same period (2009) (source Web of Science, accessed 21/09/13). The American Physiological Society selected this output for a press release which led to world-wide media impact including the prestigious New York Times.; number of additional authors: 2;
Uncontrolled keywords: exercise performance, endurance, perceived exertion, motivation.
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology (Living systems)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Marcora, Samuele Maria.

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