Mental Fatigue Can Lower Performance Of Athletes During Training or Competition, Study Shows

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Recent research conducted by the University of Birmingham has revealed that taking a break and allowing your mind to rest before engaging in physical activity can be beneficial. The study found that mental exhaustion can have a negative impact on physical performance, making it more challenging to perform at the same level.

Fatigued individuals experience more exertion during exercise

In the study, 16 participants of both genders were exposed to mentally demanding tasks, and researchers analyzed their perceptions of physical exertion. The findings showed that individuals who were mentally tired experienced greater exertion during physical activity.

Overall, the group of researchers proposes that athletes should take into account the consequences of mental exhaustion during their workout sessions, as it could potentially lead to better performances. They also advise coaches to minimize the amount of mentally taxing activities that athletes engage in before and during training and competitions, such as utilizing mobile devices. In the future, athletes and coaches may want to explore “brain endurance training” as a means of enhancing mental resilience against fatigue.

Dr Chris Ring, the principal investigator of the research, stated that although it is well-known that the brain contributes to bodily abilities, the precise impacts of psychological exhaustion have not been understood.

It is common knowledge that athletes frequently use their smartphones during breaks between training and competition. Such activities require mental exertion, and the findings indicate that athletes and coaches must enhance their comprehension of the impact of these activities on their overall performance.

The increased assertion in mentally fatigued individuals reduces performance

The participants were tested in two studies. In the first study, they completed a 90-minute cognitive task followed by weight-lifting repetitions while a control group watched videos. In the second study, they performed resistance training exercises and a cycling time trial, with cognitive tasks in between, while another control group watched videos. They then took an online exam to measure fatigue levels.

The studies found an increase in the perceived assertion in mentally fatigued individuals. Also, researchers found that performance on the cycling time trial and distance covered reduced in mentally fatigued participants.

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