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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of fatiguing exercise on cognition and physical performance Beaudoin, Danielle


The overall objective of this work was to examine the use of a psychomotor battery to detect changes in cognitive function in relation to decrements in performance during fatiguing exercise of physically active men. Three types of investigations were conducted. First, a systematic literature review was conducted to provide evidence-based information regarding the use of psychomotor batteries as an early detection marker for overtraining. Second, a methodological investigation was conducted to examine the reliability of a CogState battery to measure cognitive function under repeat exposure, according to two different testing schedules. A massed group (n = 6) performed the battery three times per day for 5 days, while the distributed group (n = 5) completed the battery once per day for 15 days. For simple and choice reaction time, findings supported the repeated use of CogState. Third, a randomized control trial was conducted to document the time course of cognitive and physiological changes when exposed to a high training load. Eleven active males were randomly assigned to a training or control group. The training group completed a 20 km cycling time trial on 5 days; while the control group maintained their usual activity. Baseline and post-tests (maximal aerobic power, time-trial performance, cognition, Muscle Soreness, Sleep Quality, and Stress-Recovery) were collected one week prior to, and following training. During training, pre- and post-session measurements of cognitive function were administered (via a CogState battery). Other measurements included morning heart rate variability, muscle soreness, and sleep quality. A one-week period of recovery followed training, wherein cognitive function was assessed daily. Results revealed no differences in time-trial performances across days for the training group (p = .325). The training protocol did not produce levels of physical fatigue required to induce performance decrements in participants; subsequently, no cognitive changes associated to the training were observed. Anecdotally, participants reported feelings of fatigue, stress, and discomfort. These findings demonstrate that recreational exercisers do not perceive appropriately objective measures of their own performance. Recommendations are provided to address the limitations of the training protocol administered to induce performance decrements in recreational exercisers for further research in this area.

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