Mental fatigue limits an individual's ability to engage in physical activity

I found a short article titled "Physical Endurance Can Be Affected By Mental Fatigue" and I think the information is interesting. Two groups were tested. One of the two groups was given an hour and a half long task, the purpose of which was to make them mentally tired. The second group simply watched documentaries for the same length of time (they must have picked good ones, because sometimes these are very tiring).

After the two groups finished with their non-physical activities (watching documentaries that did not produce mental chronic fatigue or being forced to engage in mental exercises that produced mental fatigue), they were put on stationary bikes to exercise. Both groups continued to exercise until they reached their exhaustion point. The group that started off mentally fatigued, however, reached their exhaustion point, as a group, 15 percent earlier.

The authors of this research study concluded that mental fatigue limits an individual's ability to engage in physical activity. Of course, this is something that many, or most of us, may have realized a long time ago, simply through life experience. In my own case, I hardly feel like cutting the grass--spring time approacheth--after I've been listening to my father-in-law wax eloquently on the escapades of his youth for several hours (in fact, at that point, I don't even know if I could get the mower started, let alone finish the job).

Still, seeing what we may intuitively know validated in a study is useful. This was interesting: These same researchers believe that mental fatigue lowers dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger, that's involved in effort and motivation.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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