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Effects of Mental Fatigue on Endurance Performance in the Heat

Van Cutsem, Jeroen, De Pauw, Kevin, Buyse, Luk, Marcora, Samuele Maria, Meeusen, Romain, Roelands, Bart (2017) Effects of Mental Fatigue on Endurance Performance in the Heat. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 49 (8). pp. 1677-1687. ISSN 1530-0315. (doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001263) (KAR id:60857)


PURPOSE: Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity and has been observed to decrease time-trial (TT) endurance performance by ~3,5% in normal ambient temperatures. Recently it has been suggested that heat may augment the negative effect of mental fatigue on cognitive performance, raising the question whether it may also amplify the effect of mental fatigue on TT-performance. METHODS: In 30 °C and 30% relative humidity, ten endurance-trained male athletes (Age: 22 ± 3 y; Wmax: 332 ± 41 W) completed two experimental conditions: intervention (I; 45-min Stroop task) and control (C; 45-min documentary). Pre and post intervention/control, cognitive performance was followed up with a 5-min Flanker task. Thereafter subjects cycled for 45 min at a fixed pace equal to 60%-Wmax, immediately followed by a self-paced TT in which they had to produce a fixed amount of work (equal to cycling 15 min at 80%-Wmax) as fast as possible. RESULTS: Self-reported mental fatigue was significantly higher after I compared to C (P<0.05). Moreover electroencephalographic measures also indicated the occurrence of mental fatigue during the Stroop (P<0.05). TT-time did not differ between conditions (I: 906 ± 30 s, C: 916 ± 29 s). Throughout exercise, physiological (heart rate, blood lactate, core and skin temperature) and perceptual measures (perception of effort and thermal sensation) were not affected by mental fatigue. CONCLUSION: No negative effects of mild mental fatigue were observed on performance and the physiological and perceptual responses to endurance exercise in the heat. Most plausibly mild mental fatigue does not reduce endurance performance when the brain is already stressed by a hot environment.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001263
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: Samuele Marcora
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2017 11:54 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:58 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Marcora, Samuele Maria.

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