A new study conducted by researchers at Paris-based Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière has discovered that exercise leads to muscle fatigue. Overtraining syndrome it might also end up affecting the brain and rest of the body. The authors arrived at the conclusion that over-exercising could lessen the decision-making capacity. Overtraining syndrome refers to a type of burnout that happens in endurance athletes. This is related to intensive physical training.
Researchers opine that such fatigue might affect the same neural circuitry. The one that is related to fatigue arising out of intensive intellectual work. Moreover, it has already been discovered that fatigue stemming out of work involving intensive utilization mental exercise is capable of influencing one’s cognitive control.
More Experimentation Needed to Assess Effects of Overtraining with other Levels of Fitness
Cognitive control, also known as executive control, is the ability to influence one’s thought process and behavior. Excessive physical training could lead to a drop in the level of physical performance of sportspersons as they might go through an overwhelming sense of tiredness.
The researchers aimed to find out if overtraining syndrome is partly a resultant of brain’s neural fatigue or it comes from muscle tiredness as well. The research group employed 37 male endurance sportsmen with an average age of 35 years. The participants of this research continued with their strict regimen of physical exercise or they intensified their training by 40% every session over the next three weeks.
The sportsmen took part in cycling exercises during the remaining part of the days so as to enable scientists supervise physical performance of the athletes. Thereafter, the participants completed questionnaires detailing about their subjective experience of tiredness.
In the end, researchers made use of MRI scans and behavioral tests to assess the cognitive abilities of athletes. These scans revealed that athletes overloaded with physical exercise displayed lessened activation of the lateral prefrontal cortex. Lateral prefrontal cortex plays an important role in the behavioral inhibition, planning, decision-making, and motivational operations. However, the research experts would need to conduct more research and experiments utilizing larger pool of participants. Researchers employed only physically fit people and it did not include people with lesser level of fitness.