Acute effects of mental recovery strategies after a mentally fatiguing task.

TitelAcute effects of mental recovery strategies after a mentally fatiguing task.
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AutorenLoch F, A Berge Hzum, Ferrauti A, Meyer T, Pfeiffer M, Kellmann M
JournalFront Psychol

Both daily demands as well as training and competition characteristics in sports can result in a psychobiological state of mental fatigue leading to feelings of tiredness, lack of energy, an increased perception of effort, and performance decrements. Moreover, optimal performance will only be achievable if the balance between recovery and stress states is re-established. Consequently, recovery strategies are needed aiming at mental aspects of recovery. The aim of the study was to examine acute effects of potential mental recovery strategies (MR) on subjective-psychological and on cognitive performance outcomes after a mentally fatiguing task. A laboratory-based randomized cross-over study with twenty-four students (22.8 ± 3.6 years) was applied. Participants were run through a powernap intervention (PN), a systematic breathing intervention (SB), a systematic breathing plus mental imagery intervention (SB+), and a control condition (CC) with one trial a week over four consecutive weeks. Mental fatigue was induced by completion of the 60-min version of the AX-continuous performance test (AX-CPT). The Short Recovery and Stress Scale (SRSS) and Visual Analog Scales (VAS) were assessed to measure effects on perceptual outcomes. Cognitive performance was measured with a reaction time test of the Vienna Test System (VTS). During all three recovery interventions and CC portable polysomnography was applied. Results showed a significant increase from pre-AX-CPT to pre-MR on fatigue states and recovery-stress states indicating that the induction of mental fatigue was effective. Moreover, results underlined that analysis yielded no significant differences between recovery interventions and the control condition but they revealed significant time effects for VAS, SRSS items, and cognitive performance. However, it could be derived that the application of a rest break with 20 min of mental recovery strategies appears to enhance recovery on a mainly mental and emotional level and to reduce perceived mental fatigue.

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