Detrimental effects on executive function and mood following consecutive days of repeated high-intensity sprint interval exercise in trained male sports players

Sarah E. Costello*, Barry V. O'Neill, Glyn Howatson, Ken van Someren, Crystal Haskell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intensified periods of competition are common in many team sports, potentially leading to increased fatigue and reduced performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of repeated high-intensity sprint interval exercise on cognitive function, mood and perceptions of energy and fatigue. Twenty-four trained rugby players completed multiple bouts of repeated sprints across two consecutive days. Prior to and following each set of maximal effort sprints or equivalent control duration, a battery of cognitive tasks assessing simple and choice reaction time, visuo-spatial working memory and inhibition were completed as well as visual analogue scales that assessed mood, energy, and fatigue. Accuracy of incongruent Stroop responses was significantly lower across day 2 compared to day 1 and the control condition. Four-choice reaction time was slower across day 2 whilst feelings of alertness, contentedness, and physical and mental energy were reduced while ratings of physical and mental fatigue increased. These findings suggest that intensified periods of high-intensity sprint interval exercise have detrimental effects on executive function, mood and perceptions of physical and mental energy, and fatigue. These deleterious effects have the potential to impact performance and may increase the propensity for injury/accidents in certain sporting and non-sporting contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Early online date27 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Dec 2021

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