Int J Sports Med 2020; 41(12): 846-857
DOI: 10.1055/a-1179-8326
Training & Testing

The Effects of Performing Mental Exertion during Cycling Exercise on Fatigue Indices

Hamidreza Barzegarpoor
1   Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
2   School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
Hamid Amoozi
1   Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
Hamid Rajabi
3   Sport sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
Duane Button
2   School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada
Rana Fayazmilani
1   Sport Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran (the Islamic Republic of)
4   Department of Biological Sciences in Sport, Faculty of Sports Sciences and Health, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
› Author Affiliations


This study investigated the effect of performing prolonged mental exertion during submaximal cycling exercise on exercise tolerance and fatigue. Participants performed 5 experimental sessions. Session 1: determination of cycling peak power output. Sessions 2 and 3: cycling to exhaustion at 65% peak power output with mental exertion or watching a movie. Sessions 4 and 5: cycling for 45 min at 65% peak power output with mental exertion or while watching a movie. During sessions 2–5, rate of perceived exertion and heart rate were recorded while cycling and cortisol and prolactin concentrations, psychomotor vigilance task performance, and maximal voluntary contraction were measured pre-and post-sessions. During sessions 2 and 3, time to exhaustion was reduced (p<0.01) and rate of perceived exertion was increased (p<0.01) in session 2 compared to 3. Cortisol, prolactin and heart rate increased and psychomotor vigilance task and maximal voluntary contraction decreased from pre-to post-sessions with no difference between sessions. Cortisol, prolactin and rate of perceived exertion were higher (p<0.03) in session 4 than 5. Heart rate increased and maximal voluntary contraction decreased from pre-to post-sessions with no difference between sessions. Prolonged mental exertion during cycling exercise reduces exercise tolerance, which appears to be mediated psychologically rather than physiologically.

Publication History

Received: 18 January 2020

Accepted: 07 May 2020

Article published online:
29 June 2020

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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