Friday, November 23, 2007

Exercise - concentrate on what you are doing!

This article was just published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. It sounds really interesting, although each time I read the abstract I think it means something different!

Any bright ideas out there on the implications of this? I suppose I see it as a lesson in concentrating on what you are doing. If you are training and thinking about something else, the effect will not be so great. Maybe many of us have had that experience in the gym at least - you go to train preoccupied with something else in your life - a sick child, a job problem, a bill, an argument with you partner, whatever....and your mind isn't in it so somehow your strength is not there....

Let me know your thoughts!

Background: Epidemiological findings of higher injury incidence during the latter stages of soccer match-play have been attributed to fatigue.

Objective: To examine the interaction of physical and cognitive responses during soccer-specific intermittent exercise.

Method: Ten semi-professional soccer players completed a 90-minute laboratory-based treadmill protocol replicating the activity profile of soccer match-play. Two separate trials were performed in randomised order, with and without the added stressor of a continuous grid-based vigilance task. The exercise task comprised six repetitions of a 15 minute activity profile, separated by a passive 15 minute half-time interval. The vigilance task required continual attention and sporadic target response within a letter grid. Physical response (RPE, heart rate, blood lactate, salivary cortisol) and cognitive performance (response time, response accuracy) were quantified at 15 minute intervals.

Results: Completing the exercise task with the vigilance task resulted in decreased physiological (heart rate, blood lactate) response. This may be attributed to externally directed attention, resulting in association with the cognitive task and subsequent dissociation from the physical effort. Response speed generally improved with exercise duration, while there was evidence of impaired accuracy in the early stages of the first half and the latter stages of the second half.

Conclusion: The interaction of physical and mental work was not additive in nature. The mental task had a masking effect on the physical response. Performing physical exercise tasks without due regard for appropriate psychological stimuli may therefore overestimate the physiological response.


Bryce said...

Answer: Yes.

If anyone doubts anything about the interaction of neurology/psychology/and physiology. Write me.

This has nothing to do with sports directly but get a book called "The midnight disease" it's very personal to who wrote it yet she writes about hypergraphia and writers block during periods of temporal lobe epilepsy. The point is, with sports or writing sometimes you look at a blank page, sometimes you write easily...why?

Sometimes I can do no wrong in the weightroom, sometimes I can do no right, explain it as much as you want but it's more like writers block than bad nutrition or a bad routine once I started thinking more deeply about it.


Chris said...

Interesting to think of it as writers block.

Psychology and attitude is so important. I do not have anything like the problems that you have to contend with Bryce, but I know that the mind is a key element in lots of things.

I have a recurring bad back and I can correlate my back spasms pretty well with periods of major stress in my life. I get psychologically preoccupied with work or a relationship and suddenly the back goes...(then I end up distracted from the problem at least)

Bryce said...

I know its a strange way to think about it, but sometimes being in a strange place leads to strange maps being drawn to try to walk around or find some way out.

I don't like what's happening to me, yet if I can carry back what I've learned out of these woods, once I'm fixed up. It's quite an exciting thing, at least to me.

I think I am the dead-on proof to what you quoted, in extremis and from a different direction which only reinforces the point yet further. Burnt out, occupied or attenuated neuronz iz burnt out, occupied or attenuated neuronz.

Further at a less medically exotic level, I've noticed that "multitasking" or having your mind distributed on several tasks or thoughts at once, only means you do each of them badly.