Exercising whilst mentally fatigued - does it affect performance?
To-do lists overflowing? Work piling up? Working long hours just to get the necessities done? Sounds like you're brain is exhausted. It's no wonder it's a struggle to get the gym, to punch out a workout, to endure that TRX class, or hot yoga session.
We already knew that working out boosts our brain power, wakes us up and gives us more energy. But what about the reverse scenario? How does working so hard you fatigue yourself mentally affect your workout?
Well, according to a study by scientists from the University of Kent in England and the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, men who tired themselves out mentally before a workout found the exercise to be much more exhausting, causing them to stop sooner. Therefore showing mental fatigue to affect endurance. What is interesting to note though, is that the actual muscle force was about the same as when they weren't fatigued.
As the researchers put it, "exercise simply feels harder when your brain is tired, so you quit earlier, although objectively, your muscles are still somewhat fresh."
The next time you are too drained mentally to exercise, you might want to think again. It may be a bit tougher, but you'll still get the same results. Even if you do finish quicker, any exercise is better than none.