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28.08.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 11/2018

European Journal of Applied Physiology 11/2018

Mental fatigue does not alter performance or neuromuscular fatigue development during self-paced exercise in recreationally trained cyclists

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 11/2018
Autoren:
Marcos David Silva-Cavalcante, Patrícia Guimaraes Couto, Rafael de Almeida Azevedo, Renata Gonçalves Silva, Daniel Boari Coelho, Adriano Eduardo Lima-Silva, Romulo Bertuzzi
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Anni Vanhatalo.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of mental fatigue, characterized by a subjective feeling of tiredness, on the development of neuromuscular fatigue during a 4-km cycling time trial (4-km TT).

Methods

Eight recreationally trained male cyclists performed a 4-km TT after either performing a prolonged cognitive task (mental fatigue) or after viewing emotionally neutral documentaries (control). The neuromuscular function of the knee extensors was assessed using electrical nerve stimulation at baseline, before (pre-TT), and after (post-TT) the 4-km TT. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and physiological variables were periodically measured during 4-km TT.

Results

Subjective ratings of fatigue increased significantly only after a prolonged cognitive task (P = 0.022). Neuromuscular function at baseline was similar between conditions and remained unchanged at pre-TT. Time to complete the 4-km TT was similar between control (376 ± 27 s) and mental fatigue (376 ± 26 s). There was no significant difference between conditions for RPE, \(~\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_2}\), \(\dot {V}{\text{E}}\), and HR throughout the exercise. The 4-km TT-induced similar decrease (from baseline to post-TT) in maximal voluntary contraction (mental fatigue − 11 ± 10%, control − 16 ± 12%), twitch force (mental fatigue − 26 ± 16%, control − 24 ± 17%), and voluntary activation (mental fatigue − 5 ± 7%, control − 3 ± 2%) for both conditions.

Conclusion

Mental fatigue induced by prolonged cognitive task does not impair performance nor alter the degree of central and peripheral fatigue development during self-paced exercise in recreationally trained cyclists.

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