Wednesday October 16, 2019

Excess Physical Activity Results in Fatigue and Reduced Performance

Researchers have found that, in top athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue

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Physical, fitness, health, excess activity, fatigue, performance
This reduction in brain activity was associated with impulsive decision-making, in which short-term gratification was prioritised over long-term goals. Pixabay

Researchers have found that, in top athletes, excess physical activity could be harmful and also associated with major fatigue and reduced performances.

The study published in the journal Current Biology shows that intensive physical training could harm brain capacity, particularly cognitive control.

For the findings, Mathias Pessiglione and his team from Inserm Research Institute in France said that they were interested in identifying the causes of a common phenomenon in top athletes, known as “overtraining syndrome”.

This was characterised by reduced athletic performance and intense fatigue.

Athletes suffering from this syndrome might be tempted by products likely to restore their performance.

The primary hypothesis of the researchers were clear: the fatigue caused by overtraining is similar to that caused by mental efforts.

To test this idea, the team spent nine weeks working with 37 triathletes, who were split into two groups.

The first underwent the “usual” high-level training whereas the second had additional training during the last three weeks of the experiment, with sessions lasting 40 per cent longer, on average.

From this, the researchers were able to identify similarities between overly intensive physical training and excessive mental work.

This excessive physical activity leads to reduced activity of the lateral prefrontal cortex (a key region for cognitive control), similar to that observed during mental effort.

Physical, fitness, health, excess activity, fatigue, performance
The study published in the journal Current Biology shows that intensive physical training could harm brain capacity, particularly cognitive control. Pixabay

This reduction in brain activity was associated with impulsive decision-making, in which short-term gratification was prioritised over long-term goals.

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In the case of top athletes, being this impulsive could lead to their decision to stop right in the middle of a performance or to abandon a race in order to end the pain felt during physical exertion.

The researchers believe that fatigue and reduced cognitive control might also constitute the first stage in the development of a “burnout syndrome”, which affects many people across various professional sectors. (IANS)

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Physical and Psychological Stress during Pregnancy may Affect Baby’s Sex

About 17 per cent of the women were psychologically stressed, with clinically meaningful high levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress

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Physical, Psychological, Stress
For the findings, published in the journal PNAS, the research team examined 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical and lifestyle stress collected from questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments of 187 otherwise healthy pregnant women, aged between 18 to 45. Pixabay

Pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress are less likely to have a boy, says a new study.

“Stress can also affect the mother’s immune system, leading to changes that affect neurological and behavioural development in the foetus,” said study leader Catherine Monk, Professor at Columbia University Vagelos College in the US.

“What’s clear from our study is that maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also for her future child,” Monk said.

For the findings, published in the journal PNAS, the research team examined 27 indicators of psychosocial, physical and lifestyle stress collected from questionnaires, diaries, and daily physical assessments of 187 otherwise healthy pregnant women, aged between 18 to 45.

Physical, Psychological, Stress
Stress can also affect the mother’s immune system, leading to changes that affect neurological and behavioural development in the foetus. Pixabay

About 17 per cent of the women were psychologically stressed, with clinically meaningful high levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress.

Another 16 per cent were physically stressed, with relatively higher daily blood pressure and greater caloric intake compared with other healthy pregnant women.

The majority (nearly 125) were healthy.

The study suggested that pregnant women experiencing physical and psychological stress are less likely to have a boy.

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The sex ratio in the physically and psychologically stressed groups favoured girls, with male-to-female ratios of 4:9 and 2:3, respectively.

According to the researchers, physically stressed mothers, with higher blood pressure and caloric intake, were more likely to give birth prematurely than unstressed mothers.

Psychologically stressed mothers had more birth complications than physically stressed mothers, the study said.

An estimated 30 per cent of pregnant women report psychosocial stress from job strain or related to depression and anxiety.

Physical, Psychological, Stress
What’s clear from our study is that maternal mental health matters, not only for the mother but also for her future child. Pixabay

Such stress has been associated with increased risk of premature birth, which is linked to higher rates of infant mortality and of physical and mental disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety, among offspring.

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When social support was statistically equalised across the groups, the stress effects on pre-term birth disappeared, the study added. (IANS)